The longest-serving board member of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania passed away on December 8, 2018. Frederick J. Beste III served more than 30 years in multiple board roles including several times as chairman. He was appointed to serve on Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority Board and volunteered and advocated tirelessly for BFTP many times. The entire Ben Franklin family extends its heartfelt sympathies to Fred’s family: wife Polly, daughter Megan Beste (Mark Hartney), grandchildren Ellen Baker Hartney and Taggart Frederick Hartney, and daughter Lauren Beste.
Fred received his B.A. in Economics from Stetson University in 1968, where he was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and he spent his entire career 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 Washington, D.C. In 1975 he joined Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, a private venture capital development firm, in London, Ky., where he was Vice- President and, ultimately, President and Chief Executive Officer. He joined Mid-Atlantic Venture Funds in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1984 as the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of its total of five early stage venture funds. Since 2008, he also served as Partner Emeritus/shareholder of the general partner of Originate Ventures, a Bethlehem-based venture fund targeted at investing in early stage technology companies, primarily in Pennsylvania.
During the course of his career, Fred served on the boards of directors of countless operating companies and advised and worked with literally thousands of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. He was widely published on the subjects of venture capital and entrepreneurship, and did extensive public speaking on both subjects as well. He was the Chairman of the 1994 Mid-Atlantic Venture Fair, and was 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. From 2000-2009, Fred served as a courtesy professor in the MBA program at Cornell University, where he taught a second-year MBA class, Case Studies in Entrepreneurial Finance. He also guest lectured frequently in the College of Business and Economics at Lehigh University.
Fred was Chairman of the Board of Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, Pa. and was a member of Saucon Valley Country Club. He had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and loved sharing what he learned with friends near and far through his 25-plus-year hobby, his Select Literate Friends’ Annual Anthology. Fred was an inveterate mentor, gardener, reader, communicator and storyteller, and a dear, loyal friend.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, December 18 at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center St., Bethlehem, Pa. 18017.
Fred’s family requests that memorial donations be made to CACLV (Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley), Bethlehem, Pa,, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, Pa., or the Adult Congenital Heart Assn., 3300 Henry Ave, #112, Philadelphia, PA 19129, and extends much gratitude to Dr. William Davidson, Director, Program for Adult Congenital Heart Disease of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Institute, Hershey, Pa., for giving us so many more years with Fred than his heart was designed to support.
Coverage via Lehigh Valley Business.