Eric D. Becker is Managing Partner of Caretta Partners, an entrepreneurial venture to invest in and support the next generation of growth companies. Caretta is focused on businesses with a compelling mission and higher purpose, that will make a difference in education, healthcare, human performance, food and healthy living.
A life-long entrepreneur and innovator, Eric started his first ventures as a teenager, selling his neighbors gardening seeds and greeting cards. At fourteen he got his first job selling suits to other teens, in a children’s clothing store.
As a student at University of Chicago, he was fascinated with technology and took a loan from his parents to buy the first IBM PC. His younger brother, Doug, had an idea for an optical memory card that could be used to store up to 800 pages of digital medical records. Eric wrote the business plan.
In 1983, Eric, Doug, high school classmate Christopher Hoehn-Saric, and Steven Taslitz started LifeCard International in partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland. In 1986 Blue Cross acquired the company.
Eric and his partners used the proceeds from the sale to found Sterling Partners. Sterling is a value-added, growth private equity firm. The firm manages eight funds with over $5.7bn of capital. Sterling focuses on education, healthcare and business services, including data centers, cloud infrastructure and logistics. The firm is known for its unique culture and commitment to outstanding partnerships with CEO’s.
Eric is Co-Founder and Advisor to Sterling. For 32 years he was Senior Managing Director and Co-Chairman of the Operating Committee, which oversees the firm’s 30 portfolio companies. Eric led the development of Sterling’s value-added approach which included building a team of talent, strategy and operating executives. He managed the firm’s governance practice which included recruiting and on-boarding more than 80 independent board members and developing best practices and thought leadership. Eric has been a board member of many Sterling portfolio companies including Innotrac Logistics, Prospect Mortgage, Spartan Aeronautical College, Securenet Payment Systems, Livingston International, Foundation Partners, Avectra Software, Knowledgestorm, Drifire, Ecovation, Connections Academy and Cognitive Concepts. He co- founded a Sterling portfolio company, Tango Communications, and served as CEO through its successful exit to a public company.
Prior to LifeCard International, Eric worked for the Levy Organization, a Chicago-based real estate and restaurant firm, and Grant Partners, a private value fund.
Eric is Co-Chairman of Chicago Ideas Week (CIW), a premier annual gathering of global thought leaders created to provoke new ideas and inspire actionable results. CIW’s goal is to stimulate new initiatives and ventures, create new connections and collaboration and establish a community of people who have the desire to achieve great things. He is on the board of the Living Classrooms Foundation which strengthens communities and inspires young people to achieve their potential through hands-on education and job training, using urban, natural, and maritime resources as “living classrooms”. Eric is a member of WPO and CEO and was Chapter Chairman of YPO Washington-Baltimore. He served on the boards of Port Discovery Children’s
Museum and Business Volunteers Unlimited. In 2013 he was involved in starting LaUNCh, a best in class venture lab and business accelerator in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina.
Eric and his family have had a longstanding commitment to service and volunteering. He has helped a number of organizations develop outreach programs to engage and educate youth and families about volunteering and hands-on service.
In 2012, Eric and his wife Jill, along with their children Jake, Greg, and Cara, founded a foundation while Cara was in treatment for leukemia. After Cara passed away unexpectedly, from complications from her treatment, family, friends and supporters have helped carry on Karma for Cara Foundation’s mission of educating children and teens on the importance of service to others and engagement in their local community. The foundation funds micro-grants nationally for teen volunteer service projects, supports organizations helping cancer patients and recognizes unsung heroes for their leadership in service, to show appreciation and inspire all of us to serve.