London tech bank sets up in California

A BRITISH technology investment bank is today announcing plans to set up in California in a bid to benefit from the fast-growing firms in Silicon Valley.

In a rare UK export to Silicon Valley, London-based Torch Partners, which focuses on high-growth companies in the tech, media and telecoms sectors, is set to set up in San Francisco in the coming months, its chief executive Rupert Robson will announce today.

“Naturally Silicon Valley is the place to go,” Robson, who also set up a branch in Berlin earlier this year, told City A.M.

“It’s unusual that we are expanding when other investment banks are shrinking but we feel pretty confident that technology is going to continue to grow in the long term.”

Torch Partners, which was founded in 2003, claims to have created more than $4bn (£2.5bn) in value for start ups including data centre firm Telecity, food ordering service JustEat and cloud storage company DropBox. The bank is anticipating a rise in tech IPO and M&A opportunities in the next year in Europe. Robson said that the startup scene in London, which has been criticised as being less friendly than various cultures in the US, is “on the right track” and that “things are really happening now”.

Torch Partners has hired Silicon Valley veteran Sanu Desai, who was previously JP Morgan’s head of internet and digital media, as managing director.

At JP Morgan, Desai advised many of the web’s pioneering firms in the 1990s, including Amazon and the web browser company Netscape.