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By Lawrence White
LONDON (Reuters) - Silicon Valley Bank aims to hire around 150 staff in Europe this year, mainly in Britain, as it looks to capitalise on frenzied demand for investment in tech and innovation companies, its head for the region told Reuters.
The Santa Clara, California based lender is recruiting for bankers who can help it connect mainly U.S. investors with tech start-ups in markets such as Britain, Germany and Israel, said Erin Platts, President of the bank's UK branch.
"We've found the sheer abundance of capital domestically and in Europe chasing innovation businesses, coupled with the quality of companies we are seeing, means there is just massive demand going into the sector," she said.
The bank is also recruiting support staff in finance, risk and compliance functions as it converts its UK branch into a full subsidiary, she added.
The hiring spree stands in contrast to many British-based rivals that are cutting costs and trimming headcount, and follows on from a similar recruiting drive last year also reported by Reuters.
Platt said the bank is comfortable with its hiring plans despite concerns among some investors about sky-high valuations in the sector.
"The high levels of liquidity in the sector is going to mask some mediocre performance among some companies in the next 12-24 months... there will undoubtedly be some bumps and bruises but the size of the market is massive and it can cope," she said.
The bank specialises in helping tech companies with early stage funding, providing capital for a number of such firms that have listed in recent months including Trustpilot, Made.com and Wise.
The listing of payments company Wise earlier this month at a valuation of $11 billion made it London's biggest ever tech listing and capped a record-breaking run for such fundraising in Britain.
(Reporting By Lawrence White;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)