Quotable: “Term sheets are out, and some are making sense.” — Dan Allred

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — It was no surprise to see Dan Allred on the front row at an InfoTech 2002 venture funding panel discussion Wednesday. After all, Allred for years has been a driving force in playing matchmaker between entrepreneurs and potential investors.

But Allred, a long-time member of the staff at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and who helped create CED’s Capital Connection program, is wearing a different hat these days.

Now, people are coming to him looking for money.

“This came out of the blue,” Allred says with a smile as he talked about how he landed on Oct. 8 as one of three executives at Silicon Valley Bank’s RTP office.

Andy Rico, who runs SVB’s local office, brought Allred on board because Allred knows the companies, knows the entrepreneurs, and knows the venture capitalists around the Southeast.

“I also know how the VCs operate,” he says with a twinkle in is eye.

Rico hired Allred even though he had no banking experience. Allred acknowledges he’s hard at work learning the ins and outs of the money side of the equation. “I have to learn this banking stuff,” he says, chuckling. But he also adds he’s ready for the challenge.

“This definitely is a good fit. I looked into it very closely, I talked with some VCs, the executive committee at CED, and they all liked the idea. I’m pretty excited.”

‘Very proactive’

Allred points out that the SVB office “is not a branch” where people can go to open a checking account. Even though SVB does offer standard services and has offices in Atlanta and Virginia, the purpose of the local office “is to work with entrepreneurs, life science and tech companies in putting together debt facilities and help them leverage equity that’s already in place.”

While direct investments aren’t necessarily ruled out, Allred says the local SVB branch focuses on finding ways for companies to “stretch out” investments raised through equity rounds. And he says he’s quite busy working on “warrant coverage” — credit lines..

“There’s definitely action going on, and we are very proactive,” he says. “Companies can get debt capital at lower costs than equity costs. Hopefully, by prolonging the life of their equity rounds (entrepreneurs) will hit more milestones which will help them have higher valuations for later rounds and also help them carry more cash on their balance sheet.”

The opening of the SVB branch in RTP was seen as a boost for the region’s tech community. And Rico has kept his team busy. Allred also insists that having three people operating locally means “absolutely” faster action on deals.

“There’s definitely action going on, and we are very proactive,” he says.

Allred also says he likes what he’s hearing about potential VC deals. “Term sheets are out,” he says, “and some are making sense.”

Rick Smith is managing editor of Local Tech Wire.