MENLO PARK, CA – The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) today presented Pete Bancroft with the 2018 American Spirit Award at the 2018 NVCA Leadership Gala.  Held at the Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, CA, the NVCA Leadership Gala celebrates the venture industry and honors those who have made significant contributions to foster innovation, advance technology and drive new company formation. 

“Pete is a pioneer of the venture industry, credited with being one of the earliest participants in the industry as a General Partner at Draper Gaither & Anderson,” said Bobby Franklin, President and CEO of NVCA.  “Later he would lay the foundation for Bessemer Venture Partners, establishing it as one of the first bi-costal venture firms and cementing a platform that remains in place at the firm today.  One of the original founders of NVCA, Pete is a visionary and true leader of our industry—we are honored to present him with the Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital Award.”

Pete Bancroft is the retired chief executive of Bessemer Securities Corporation and has continued, through the years, an active venture capitalist.  He recently sponsored an oral history collection program for the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley entitled “Early Bay Area Venture Capitalists – Shaping the Economic and Business Landscape”.

Born February 27, 1930, he graduated from Yale University (Dean’s List) with a B.A. degree in 1951.  From then until 1956 he did post-graduate studies at Georgetown Foreign Service Institute, served in the Department of Defense and, subsequently, as an officer in the U.S Air Force, stationed primarily in Korea and Japan.

Between 1956 and 1962 Mr. Bancroft was associated with two investment banking firms in New York—Merrill Lynch, and, later, F. Eberstadt & Co.  Thereafter, for the next five years, he returned to his native California as a general partner of Draper, Gaither and Anderson, one of the very early venture capital firms.

In 1967 Mr. Bancroft joined Bessemer Securities Corporation, a large private investment company in New York, as Vice President in charge of Venture Capital investments.  He was subsequently promoted to Senior Vice President, Investments, in 1974 and then to President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director in 1976.   He retired as CEO in 1988 but continued consulting and venture investing with Bessemer until the early 1990’s.

Through the years he served on 30 or more corporate boards and also for three years as a Trustee of Carnegie-Mellon University.  He was a founding Director of the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) in the early 1970’s, serving as President in 1976 and 1977 and then as Chairman in 1978.

Mr. Bancroft remains active as a director of the Paul and Monica Bancroft Family Foundation and with The Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.  In this latter connection, he oversaw the collection of their oral histories by early California venture capitalists through direct interviews and through donations of similar interviews by members of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists and of many of their early compatriots from the East with the help of the National Venture Capital Association. 

About the Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital

The Lifetime Achievement in Venture Capital Award was created to recognize venture professionals who have dedicated their professional lives to creating and building successful and highly competitive venture firms as well as portfolio companies that have made a significant contribution to the growth and success of the U.S. economy.  Recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award were instrumental in the formation and growth of the venture capital industry and have consistently set high performance standards for the entire industry.

Previous recipients: Bill Draper, Chuck Newhall, Mike Moritz, Mark Heesen, Arthur Rock, Sam Colella, Felda Hardymon, James Blair, Brook Byers, Jean Deleage, Anthony Evnin, Grant Heidrich, Jim Swartz, Bill Hambrecht, Sandy Robertson, Thomas Weisel, Edward Glassmeyer, Peter Crisp, Henry McCance, Paul Wythes, Lionel Pincus, Pitch Johnson, Richard Kramlich, Stanley Golder, Burton McMurtry, Reid Dennis, Peter Brooke, Thomas Perkins, Stanley Golder and David Morgenthaler.