Laurence Tosi had a front seat for another banking crisis: He worked as a top banking executive and then private equity executive as the financial crisis swept up Wall Street.
Tosi is someone I turn to when I want to get a sophisticated investor’s account of what’s really going on in Silicon Valley.
His resume straddles Wall Street and Silicon Valley. He worked as the chief operating officer at Merrill Lynch, as the chief financial officer at Blackstone, and as the chief financial officer at Airbnb. Today, Tosi runs an $8 billion investment firm called WestCap that invests in startups and venture capital funds.
As Silicon Valley Bank was unraveling, Tosi guided his portfolio companies on how to move their money out of the bank. Then, over the weekend, after Silicon Valley Bank failed, he talked to top banking executives, Senators, and members of Congress, including Representative Ro Khanna.
Tosi, despite his generally optimistic outlook, offered a bleak take on what this year will look like for the startup industry. He predicted a “hard landing” and that 2023 will be even tougher than last year for startups.
“The worst is yet to come,” Tosi said. “They raised rates so fast, the shock to the body after so many years of such a dovish stance and zero rates, it’s going to take some time to work through the system.”
On the Newcomer podcast, we discussed the bank run and what led to Silicon Valley Banks failure.
Give it a listen.