The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP/NEP) has announced the appointment of Frederick J. Beste III, CEO of the general partners of the Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds (MAVF), as the new Chairman of its Board of Directors. Beste has served on the Ben Franklin board since 1986, and also serves on Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority board. He has played an active role as a resource to Ben Franklin in advising local technology entrepreneurs for many years.
Fred Beste has spent more than 40 years in the venture capital industry, beginning with Greater Washington Investors, Inc., a publicly held venture capital firm, where he was Vice-President and Treasurer. In 1975, he joined Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, a private venture capital development firm, where he was President and Chief Executive Officer. He joined MAVF in 1984 as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of its first general partner. MAVF is comprised of four venture capital limited partnerships totaling approximately $200 million in capital. The funds focus on seed and start-up stage investments, primarily in technology-based companies located in the mid-Atlantic. Since 2008, Beste has also served as Partner Emeritus/shareholder of the general partner of Bethlehem-based Originate Ventures, a $45 million venture fund targeted at investing in early-stage technology companies, primarily in Pennsylvania.
Throughout his career, Beste has served on the boards of directors of countless companies and has advised and worked with thousands of entrepreneurs. He has been widely published on the subjects of venture capital and entrepreneurship, and has done extensive public speaking on both subjects as well. He was the Chairman of the 1994 Mid-Atlantic Venture Fair, at the time the largest such event in the industry, and the recipient of the Greater Philadelphia Venture Group’s 1995 Blair Thompson Memorial Award for career achievement in venture capital, and Early Stage East’s inaugural (2001) Sal Buccieri Memorial Venture Impact Award for early-stage venture capital investment achievement. Honoring his extensive work with staff and clients, and his tremendous impact on the regional technology economy, Beste won Ben Franklin’s inaugural entrepreneurial advocate award in 1995.
Beste earned his B.A. in Economics from Stetson University, and, from 2000-2009, served as an adjunct professor in the MBA program at Cornell University, where he taught a second-year MBA class, Case Studies in Entrepreneurial Finance. He succeeds Thomas E. Stine as board chairman. Stine will remain serving as a board member.
About the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania BFTP/NEP’s goal is to help lead northeastern Pennsylvania to a better economic future by building partnerships that develop and apply technology for competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, Ben Franklin staff concentrate their efforts on three key areas:
- developing early-stage technology-oriented companies,
- helping established manufacturers creatively apply new technology and business practices to achieve industry leadership, and
- promoting an innovative community-wide infrastructure that fosters a favorable business environment for high-growth companies.
Since beginning operation, BFTP/NEP has helped to create 14,301 new jobs for Pennsylvania workers and to retain 21,236 existing jobs, to start 408 new companies, and to develop 948 new products and processes. BFTP/NEP is headquartered on the campus of Lehigh University and operates Ben Franklin TechVentures, an award-winning business incubator/post-incubator facility, in Bethlehem, and the Bloomsburg Regional Technology Center in Bloomsburg. The Pennsylvania Ben Franklin Technology Partners has returned $3.50 to the state treasury for every $1.00 invested in the program.