My Startup Banking Story – Mitchell Hashimoto

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2023-03-14 20:30:04

As a relatively new member of adult society, and an absolute infant of the business world, I didn't think much about bank choice. I figured: you put money in, you take money out, they're all the same. I also figured a local branch of a global bank is just a fungible tentacle of the giant banking machine, so also... who cares. Both incorrect assumptions, but let's relive and rediscover the effect of these assumptions as I did.

I start my company. I am a 22 year old recent college graduate living in San Francisco and pursuing the startup dream. I file my incorporation paperwork and wait to receive the necessary information for one of the first steps of in the life of any new business: opening a bank account.

My filing is processed and I receive my EIN while visiting my parents in a suburb of Los Angeles. I have time to kill during one of the days so I drive down to the nearest Chase bank branch and open a business banking account. We'll call the person who helped me at the local branch Alex (this will be important later). I fund that account with a $20,000 personal loan which was almost all of my savings. I get an account number, an online login, and boom, we're in business!

About 6 months later, I raise a ~$1M seed round. I supply my Chase business banking account information for the wire, and at close the funding is wired to the account. I am sitting in a cafe in downtown San Francisco and I receive a call from an unknown number -- it's Alex, the banker that helped me open my account. He is being very casual, sort of like "Hey, just wanted to check on things." "I noticed a big deposit and wanted to make sure you had everything you needed." etc. For my side, I am mostly confused: why is this person calling me? I mostly say things like "yes yes I'm fine" and end the call quickly. Some wheels have started turning in Southern California, and I just hadn't known it yet.

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