Photo of Pete Bancroft

Paul "Pete" Bancroft III: Early Bay Area Venture Capitalists: Shaping the Economic and Business Landscape

Conducted by Sally Hughes in 2010, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 2010.

See our Venture Capitalists Oral History Project for related oral histories.

Paul "Pete" Bancroft was an early participant in the venture capital industry, serving as a general partner in Draper Gaither & Anderson, which was the pioneer venture capital partnership founded in Palo Alto by General William Draper, General Fred Anderson, Rowan Gaither and Laurence Duerig in 1959. Mr. Bancroft joined D G & A in 1962 and worked closely with fellow younger partners Donald Lucas and Crawford Cooley until the firm was disbanded in 1967.

Thereafter he became Vice president, Venture Capital, of Bessemer Securities Corporation, a large private investment company in New York and California and in 1976 was named President, CEO and a director of Bessemer. He retired as CEO in 1988 but continued consulting and venture investing with Bessemer until the early 1990’s.

In 1973, Mr. Bancroft was one of the founders and initial directors of the National Venture Capital Association. He played a major role as President and later Chairman throughout much of the mid 1970’s.

Through the years he served on 30 or more corporate boards and also for three years as a Trustee of Carnegie-Mellon University. Mr. Bancroft remains on two boards, the Paul and Monica Bancroft Family Foundation and the Friends of the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.

Mr. Bancroft graduated from Yale University in 1951, did post graduate studies at Georgetown Foreign Service Institute, served in the Department of Defense and subsequently as an officer in the US Air Force stationed in Korea and Japan before commencing his business career. Since returning to his native California around the turn of this century Mr. Bancroft has devoted considerable time to the Bancroft Library which was founded by his great grandfather, Hubert Howe Bancroft.

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