BuzzFeed Has Most of Its Cash in Failed Silicon Valley Bank

The company, which reported $56 million in cash and equivalents at the end of 2022, says its operations won’t be disrupted

buzzfeed jonah peretti
BuzzFeed Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Most of Buzzfeed’s cash and cash equivalents for 2022, totaling a reported $56 million, were held at the failed Silicon Valley Bank, the Northern California financial powerhouse that failed last week.

However, in a joint statement released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the U.S. government reassured that all depositors will be fully protected.

“The company is accessing its funds and does not currently anticipate any disruption to its ongoing operations,” BuzzFeed wrote as part of its fourth quarter and full year 2022 financial results Monday.

“That Silicon Valley Bank situation definitely impacted our weekend, but I don’t think it will have a big impact on our business,” Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti said during the company’s earnings call Monday.

The announcement comes on the heels of Roku disclosing it had approximately $487 million held by Silicon Valley Bank. The company said that the number represents approximately 26% of its cash and cash equivalents, and the company will be able meet its pending financial obligations for at least “the next 12 months and beyond.”

The Santa Clara-based Silicon Valley Bank was closed Friday by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, marking a major ending to what had for decades been one of the pillars of financing in the tech industry economy.

The bank first made headlines Wednesday after it notified investors that it needed to raise just over $2 billion to offset $1.8 billion in losses it incurred from investments in mortgage-backed securities, which were devalued thanks to the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates.

The next day, dozens of SVB’s venture capital clients — urged on by a venture capital fund founded by billionaire Peter Thiel and others — started pulling their assets from the bank, which one investor previously described as “a hysteria-induced bank run.”

The customers withdrew $42 billion by the end of Thursday, according to California regulatory filings, and as a result the bank was left with a negative cash balance of $958 million. Regulators shut SVB down and seized its assets on Friday morning.

The bank’s trajectory from Silicon Valley institution to the second biggest bank failure in U.S. history took less than 48 hours.

The bank and its assets are now held by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; FDIC insures all bank deposits in the United States up to $250,000, and the agency said Friday that all insured customers should expect to regain access to their money by Monday.