Paul Ban­croft III

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFETRIBUTES -

Paul “Pete” Ban­croft, III, the el­dest great-grand­son of Hu­bert Howe Ban­croft, the noted his­to­rian of the West who cre­ated the Ban­croft Li­brary at UC Berke­ley, died of can­cer on Jan­uary 3, 2019, in his home in San Fran­cisco. Ban­croft was Pres­i­dent and CEO of Besse­mer Se­cu­ri­ties Corp. in New York, a sub­stan­tial pri­vate in­vest­ment firm, in the late 1970s and through­out the 1980s. He was also a found­ing di­rec­tor and sub­se­quent pres­i­dent and chair­man of the Na­tional Ven­ture Cap­i­tal As­so­ci­a­tion in Wash­ing­ton, DC. He was the only son of Paul Ban­croft, Jr., of San Fran­cisco and Rita Man­ning of New York City.

Ban­croft was a pi­o­neer in the Ven­ture Cap­i­tal In­dus­try, hav­ing served as the youngest part­ner of Draper, Gaither and An­der­son in Palo Alto from 1962 un­til 1967. He con­tin­ued ac­tive in the ven­tur­ing busi­ness in his later years, spon­sor­ing an oral his­tory col­lec­tion pro­gram at the Ban­croft Li­brary 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. Prior to that he pre­pared at Cul­ver Mil­i­tary Academy. From 1951 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 US 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 early ven­ture cap­i­tal firms.

In 1967 Mr. Ban­croft joined Besse­mer Se­cu­ri­ties Cor­po­ra­tion, a large pri­vate in­vest­ment com­pany in New York founded by Henry Phipps, 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 1990s.

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 in the early 1970s, serv­ing as Pres­i­dent in 1976 and 1977 and then as Chair­man in 1978. In 2018 he re­ceived its Life­time Achieve­ment Award for his con­tri­bu­tion to the in­dus­try.

Mr. Ban­croft founded the Paul and Mon­ica Ban­croft Fam­ily Foun­da­tion, to which he de­voted sub­stan­tial time since 1989. He was also on the Board of the Friends of the Ban­croft Li­brary at UC Berke­ley for a num­ber of years and par­tic­i­pated broadly in the ac­tiv­i­ties of that Li­brary. In this lat­ter con­nec­tion he spon­sored the col­lec­tion of oral his­to­ries of early Cal­i­for­nia ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists both through ar­rang­ing di­rect in­ter­views and through ob­tain­ing do­na­tions of sim­i­lar in­ter­views of other early ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists to the Li­brary by mem­bers of the Western As­so­ci­a­tion of Ven­ture Cap­i­tal­ists and mem­bers of the Na­tional Ven­ture Cap­i­tal As­so­ci­a­tion. He also helped spon­sor the cre­ation of en­dow­ments for the long term support of the Oral His­tory Cen­ter and the Western Amer­i­cana Pro­gram of the Li­brary, two of its most popular and well followed pro­grams.

Mr. Ban­croft was a long time mem­ber of the Bo­hemian and Pa­cific Union Clubs in San Fran­cisco.

Mr. Ban­croft is sur­vived by his wife, the for­mer Mon­ica Von Swogetinsky Devine, and has four chil­dren by a pre­vi­ous mar­riage (to Mae God­win Ban­croft), Brad­ford, Kim­berly, Stephen and Gre­gory Ban­croft, two step-chil­dren, Christina Devine and Leighton Devine, and five grand­chil­dren. He resided in San Fran­cisco, CA.

His fam­ily has re­quested that in lieu of flow­ers do­na­tions be made to the Ban­croft Li­brary at UC Berke­ley for the Paul Ban­croft III En­dow­ment.

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