CEO: Bailing Out Tech '1000000x More Important Than Defending Ukraine'

The banking crisis has given us a fascinating peek into the psychology and priorities of tech insiders while under pressure.
CEO: Bailing Out Tech '1000000x More Important Than Defending Ukraine'
Credit: Associated Press

Amid the liquidity crisis that resulted in three tech- and crypto-focused U.S. banks collapsing last week, investors and startup founders have given us a fascinating peek into their psychology and priorities while under pressure. 

Despite backing companies like Uber which are premised on flouting government regulations or morphing them to suit, many investors immediately begged for a bailout for depositors. Prominent investor Jason Calacanis predicted a Mad Max-style hellscape with every American regional bank collapsing by Monday if the government did not step in, which they did, backstopping depositors and placing two collapsed firms—Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank—under FDIC control. 


According to a LinkedIn post by Sahil Mansuri, CEO of sales software company Bravado, bailing out the tech industry is more critical than other government priorities such as sending equipment to Ukraine to defend against Russia. 

"Anyone who doesn't understand how the SVB Crisis is 1000000x more important than defending Ukraine or banning TikTok ... has ZERO idea how the US Economy works," he said in his Sunday post. "If businesses (like mine) are allowed to fail because we put our money in the 'wrong' bank, the entire financial system collapses … this isn't hyperbole."

Bravado has raised a total of $36 million according to Crunchbase, and raised $26 million last year in a series B round led by Tiger Global, a massive VC fund. 


This idea echoes sentiments from tech investors like David Sacks. "The idea that the American government, the American taxpayer, or any American company is obligated to provide support [to Ukraine] is pure entitlement," Sacks said in an October 2022 tweet. During the weekend of the banks' collapse, Sacks made numerous tweets calling for depositor bailouts. 

"The startup economy actually needs speed and certainty more than it needs full insurance. If the Fed announced 85 cents on the dollar available Monday, startups would survive," he said in a Sunday tweet. "It’s the rest of the economy that will suffer when the run on the regional banking system begins."

Of course, backstopping depositors using funds contributed by other banks—versus taxpayer money, which is going to Ukraine—is not mutually exclusive to the priority of providing aid to a nation defending against Russian expansion on NATO's eastern edge. But in the mind of founders and investors with money on the line, bailing them out is the highest possible national priority. 

"I'm not downplaying the significance of what war crimes Russia committed on Ukraine," Mansuri wrote in a comment. "I'm saying anyone who is an American and thinks we shouldn't allow such a thing to occur... but wants to bankrupt thousands of US tech startups... has their priorities all fucked up.”


“The job of the U.S. government is to protect its citizens, not to go spend trillions of dollars we cannot afford on wars across the world,” Mansuri told Motherboard in an emailed statement. “When SVB collapsed, I was unable to run payroll for my employees. If an employer doesn't pay their employees, you have to lay them off. It's the law (for good reason).”

“So there was real risk that my business (which employees 30 people) would go under without intervention. There are 40,000 such businesses who bank at SVB,” he continued. “That's millions of Americans losing their jobs. Loss of trust in our banking system.  Do you believe those are priorities the US Govt should put above foreign intervention?” Mansuri offered to run payroll from his personal savings, he said, and an investor offered the same before the government stepped in.

It's unclear how large the risk to other banks and average Americans—whose personal deposits are federally ensured up to $250,000—actually was before the government stepped in. All of the collapsed banks almost exclusively served the speculative, overheated sectors of startup technology companies, cryptocurrencies, and real estate. However, high interest rates and general economic downturn are affecting every financial institution and banks of all sizes received downward shocks to their share price as the crisis unfolded. 

Many experts at the time were positive the banking system as a whole—especially bigger players—would remain solvent, although lightly-regulated and specialized regional banks were more of a question mark. In comments announcing the bailout, President Biden emphasized the safety and security of the U.S. banking system, indicating the apparent need to inspire calm. 

Mansuri continued on LinkedIn:

"If people who need to pay payroll, like me, cannot trust that the millions I've put into a bank are not 💯 guaranteed…

The entire US economy will fail.

Anyone who doesn't agree with this statement has ZERO idea what they are talking about and should be someone you never, ever listen to again.

If I (CEO of company) cannot trust that leaving my employees salary in your bank = safe… we are 💯 fucked.

Know that. Believe that. Understand that.

It is the literal gospel."

Update: This story was updated with comment from Bravado CEO Sahil Mansuri.