Our FirmBackground & History
Years of investment history
Private equity funds raised
Private equity investments made
Years of public company investing
Berkshire Partners seeks to invest in growing companies and help them become enduring market leaders. Our commitment to collaboration and deep alignment as a 100% employee-owned firm have helped us attract and retain experienced professionals who possess relevant perspectives and are grounded in our values.
Berkshire was founded in the mid-1980s, and our first two decades focused solely on investing from our private equity funds. Our team was united around the goals of producing excellent returns for our investors and helping our portfolio companies achieve their potentials. Along the way, we sought to be a constructive partner for management teams by exhibiting a long-term approach.
We believed from our earliest days that sector expertise was important to achieve our goals as investors. Industrial and consumer verticals were two industry sectors where we had initial experience, and which continue to be an important part of our focus today. Along the way, we have developed additional expertise in the technology and communications, healthcare, and services sectors.
In 2007, seeking to build on our initial focus in private equity and capitalize on the industry experience and intellectual capital we had developed, we launched Stockbridge, our public equities business. Stockbridge and Berkshire Partners Private Equity enjoy a strong history of collaborating, sharing ideas, and developing actionable investment insights.
Today, we apply a similar approach across our private and public investments and take pride in our culture and our process, which is based on analytical rigor and collaborative decision-making. Over more than 35 years, our team has invested through a range of economic cycles, including both up and down markets.
Berkshire Partners was founded in 1986 by Brad Bloom, Chris Clifford, Russ Epker, Carl Ferenbach, and Richard Lubin, in the early days of the modern private equity industry. We raised our first two private equity funds during this decade and enjoyed early successes, gaining insights into key success factors relevant to industries in which we invested, as well as deep relationships with management teams, executives, advisors, and intermediaries. Sterling Jewelry, one of the fastest-growing jewelry chains in the United States at the time, Clean Harbors, the environmental services company, and regional rail company Wisconsin Central Railroad were a few of Berkshire Partners’ investments during this period that Berkshire Partners realized via IPOs. We also initiated our investment in Advanced Drainage Systems, a business in which we would hold an investment for nearly 30 years, in both private and public equity.
In the 1990s, the firm raised three more private equity funds, made our first international investments, and completed several privatization transactions for businesses sold by various government entities. We made our first telecommunications investments, helping to build the backbone for the expansion of the infrastructure for mobile telephony, including being founding investors in what would become Crown Castle International. This decade also marked the first time we reinvested in a company we had previously owned, Fresh Start Bakeries.
As a firm, Berkshire Partners has long believed that diversity of thought, perspectives, and backgrounds drives better decision-making. In 1994, we were delighted to welcome Jane Brock-Wilson as our first female Managing Director.
In 2007, Stockbridge was formed to take advantage of the firm’s insights and apply them to investing in the public markets. The Stockbridge team has private equity roots, and the strategy is familiar: seek to invest in high quality growth businesses with a long-term horizon and concentrate the portfolio on opportunities where we have the highest conviction. Berkshire Partners benefits from deep and frequent collaboration between Stockbridge and our private equity business. This ranges from idea sharing on themes, to occasionally investing in the same company when the opportunity meets the investment criteria of both teams.
We raised three more private equity funds during this decade. The firm increased our staff to 100 employees, including adding functional leaders in portfolio support, capital markets, legal, business development, talent, and investor relations.
In 2009, we moved to our current headquarters at 200 Clarendon Street, in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston and we started our long-standing charitable partnership with the Pan-Mass Challenge, which supports the innovative work of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Throughout the decade, we continued to deepen and expand our industry sector specialization and aligned all private equity investment team members with a specific vertical. We built on our longtime technology and communications experience with investments in data centers, fiber providers, towers, and software and tech services providers. We also continued to leverage our expertise in consumer and industrials. Aritzia and National Vision debuted as public companies. The firm adopted our first responsible investment policy in 2015, formalizing our commitment to operating sustainably. We expanded our capabilities in digital marketing, cybersecurity, and organizational and talent development – all intended to address the opportunity to help our portfolio companies achieve full potential.
In 2021, Berkshire Partners celebrated its 35th anniversary and grew to over 175s employees. Berkshire Partners Private Equity raised our tenth fund, and the firm surpassed $20 billion of capital commitments including the funds managed by Stockbridge. The firm furthered our commitment to operate sustainably by becoming a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and establishing carbon impact targets for both our portfolio and for Berkshire Partners.
We believe we have grown, innovated, and added dozens of exceptionally talented professionals to our stable team. We believe the firm enjoys a unique position – a distinctive culture coupled with consistent long-term success – creating a solid foundation for the future.