Wells Fargo continues to place bets on the technology sector, announcing they intend to build out a tech investment banking practice this year in NYC. This follows similar office openings in Seattle and Boston last year, bringing the total offices to ten in the country that have tech i-banking capabilities. The technology group focuses on information technology (software/SaaS, infrastructure, semiconductors, Internet/digital media, commerce/payments, and IT services), clean technology (energy production including solar/wind/biomass, water efficiency, electric and low-emission vehicles, smart grid applications), life sciences (pharmaceuticals, medical technology/equipment, healthcare IT, biotech and diagnostics) and venture fund services. The group targets companies from the startup to middle-market stages, so they will unlikely be going against perennial tech banking powerhouses Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for the highest profile clients. Nonetheless, this is great news for Wells Fargo and further validation of the growing tech scene in NYC, Silicon Alley.
“The rapidly expanding technology sector — and the wealth around it — are driving the country’s economic growth,” said Eric Houser, the head of the tech banking division and a 16-year veteran formerly with Wells Fargo’s commercial banking operations. Houser is based in San Jose, CA, and works closely with Steven Smith in Palo Alto, CA.
Wells Fargo is one of the top five largest banks in the country by assets, and has recently been in the top 10 of the investment banking league tables, though much of that could be attributed to advising Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital on the acquisition of Heinz (~$28Bn in deal value). Last year, the bank’s investment banking revenue grew ~37% (highest segment at the bank), though still representing less than 2% of the bank’s total revenue. In terms of the technology practice, the bank counts Tesla Motors (TSLA) and BrightSource Energy (BRSE) as clients.