Signature Bank has formed a national Venture Banking Group to focus on serving venture capital firms and the portfolio companies in which they invest.

The 24-person Signature Bank Venture Banking Group, with veteran banking teams located throughout the country, is led by Ken Fugate, managing group director. Fugate, a 20-year banking veteran, will oversee operations of the group, from offices in Denver. Joining him in leadership roles are Mara Huntington, named managing group director, National Lending; Ryan Incorvaia, managing group director, Credit; and, Arthur Wasson, managing group director, Venture Capital Services and Global Treasury Management.

Members of the Venture Banking Group joins from Square 1 Bank, a division of Pacific Western Bank, where many had been working together for more than a decade.

Fugate co-founded Square 1 in 2005, where he spent 14 years. He helped build that institution’s brand and franchise to position it for an initial public offering, which occurred just prior to its acquisition by Pacific Western in 2015. Most recently, Fugate served as executive vice president, responsible for managing the team, primarily in the areas of technology and life sciences, throughout the central U.S., including the Midwest, Rocky Mountain and Texas markets. Earlier, he worked at Comerica Bank and Imperial Bank in their technology and life sciences divisions.

Huntington, based in Durham, N.C., will lead the technology and life sciences banking teams within the Venture Banking Group. With 15 years of related experience, she formerly was executive vice president, where she oversaw the technology banking team along the East coast and the national life sciences practice. Prior, she spent five years at GE Capital in the Life Sciences Venture Group as an underwriter and portfolio manager for early stage private and public life science companies.

Incorvaia will oversee credit risk management for the new Venture Banking Group and will also be based in Denver. Incorvaia brings 20 years of related experience to his new position. For the past nine years, he served in various credit roles within Square 1, most recently senior vice president and managing director, Credit Administration for the venture banking division. Earlier, he spent 10 years at Silicon Valley Bank in various roles with the most recent being Deal Team Leader.

Wasson has spent 23 years in the banking industry. As head of Venture Capital Services and Global Treasury Management for the Venture Banking Group, based in Durham, Wasson will manage the Group’s efforts in banking venture capital firms and the delivery of treasury management products and services. He was executive vice president of the Equity Funds Group and Global Treasury Management at Square 1 in Durham. In this capacity, he managed the Equity Funds Group (lending to venture capital firms and private equity funds), Global Treasury Management (handling all banking-related products) and Square 1 Asset Management (a registered investment advisor providing commercial cash management services to the middle market). Over the course of his career, Wasson held roles of increasing responsibility at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.

In addition to the Denver and Durham offices, the Venture Banking Group will also initially operate from locations in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, San Francisco/Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., with future plans already underway to expand the team across geographies and industry focus.

“The launch of the new Signature Bank Venture Banking Group is indicative of our continued abilities to pursue complementary areas of growth and expansion for the Bank. Technology and life sciences are both vibrant business sectors within today’s economy and areas we want to serve. We believe our organic growth model of attracting high-quality banking teams is the best use of capital, and Ken and his team are the best-in-class in the venture banking arena. The Signature Bank Venture Banking Group has experts strategically placed in key geographic markets throughout the country, and with the establishment of this Group, our teams are now positioned nationally in these important sectors,” explained Joseph J. DePaolo, president and CEO at Signature Bank.