"Economic freedom, political freedom and personal freedom are all facets of the same diamond. Entrepreneurs are the revolutionaries of our time", declared Pitch Johnson in a speech at the Russian Venture Fair in St Petersburg in October 2004. Pitch should know; for he is someone who has devoted better than fifty years of his life as an entrepreneur and venture investor and helped create more than 200 companies!!
Franklin Pitcher "Pitch" Johnson, Jr., a native of Quincy, Illinois, graduated from Palo Alto(California) High School in 1946, received a B.S. in mechanical Engineering from Stanford in 1950 and an M.B.A. from Harvard in 1952. He served as a maintenance officer in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1954, and was a production executive at Inland Steel Company from 1954 to 1962.
After leaving Inland Steel, Pitch became interested in venture capital and with Bill Draper founded Draper and Johnson Investment Company, an early venture capital firm in Silicon Valley. Pitch founded Asset Management Company in 1965 where he continues to play an active role to this date. Pitch has made over 200 investments, including pioneering companies as Amgen, Applied Micro Circuits, Applied Bio Systems, Boole and Babbage, Conductus, Hybritech, IDEC, Octel, Qume, RedBrick Systems, Remedy, Sierra Semiconductor, Tandem Computers, Teradyne and Verity and served on many boards for many years.
In the international arena, Pitch, in conjunction with ABN Amro Bank of the Netherlands, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and a group of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists of Polish, Czech, and Slovak origins, helped form and invested in a venture capital company, European Renaissance Capital, to assist new and young companies in Poland and the Czech and Slovak Republics. He also helped form and advised funds in Norway, New Zealand and Russia and an investment bank in Romania.
Pitch has been very active in civic, educational, community and international affairs. Pitch certainly acquired this interest from his parents. His father was a track and filed coach at Drake and Stanford Universities and his mother was a high school English teacher and counselor.
Pitch taught a class in entrepreneurship and venture capital at Stanford Business School for 12 years and is still active on the faculty there.
He is also a past director of the National Venture Capital Association, a past president of the Western Association of Venture Capitalists and an elected trustee of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District for 12 years. Pitch has served as an advisor to several eastern European countries since 1990 in the area of entrepreneurship and privatization.
Pitch is a passionate fisherman and an avid flyer. He is a big sports fan, and does not like to miss Stanford Football, Basketball or Track and Field. Pitch has attended the last 10 Olympic Games!! He is a great fan of the opera and serves as the chairman of San Francisco Opera since 1999.
Pitch has received many accolades and honors for his fine contributions, the most notable being Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Venture Capital Association, Hall of Fame of the Dow Jones Private Equity and Venture Capital and election to the Hoover Institute Board of Overseers.
Pitch is a family man, having been married to his wife Cathie for 52 years with four grown children.