Robert F. Smith
5/8/2021
30/6/2022
One of the World's Most Successful Private Equity Firms: Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners

With over 93 billion dollars in assets under management, Vista Equity Partners is one of the world’s leading software-focused private equity firms. As Founder, Chairman and CEO, this success has propelled Robert F. Smith to become one of the most respected investors of his generation, being named by Forbes as one of the ‘100 Greatest Living Business Minds’, as well as becoming one of the most generous philanthropists of his time.

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With over 93 billion dollars in assets under management, Vista Equity Partners is one of the world’s leading software-focused private equity firms. As Founder, Chairman and CEO, this success has propelled Robert F. Smith to become one of the most respected investors of his generation, being named by Forbes as one of the ‘100 Greatest Living Business Minds’, as well as becoming one of the most generous philanthropists of his time.

Robert describes his upbringing in Denver, how he secured his first work experience at Bell Labs whilst still at school and his education at Cornell University and Columbia Business School taking him from engineering to finance.

Robert describes working in technology at Goldman Sachs Investment Banking which included advising a then-troubled Apple as it pivoted to become a platform technology company. He explains his decision to leave and found Vista Equity Partners in 2000. He talks about the signs that software’s importance would mushroom and how today, Vista’s 80+ portfolio companies have circa 90,000 employees globally and together comprise one of the world’s largest enterprise software companies when combined by revenue, and in so doing serve over 300 million users.

Robert explains why software has been the most productive tool economically in the last 50 years, why he describes today’s epoch as the 4th Industrial Revolution and what is really going under the term “digitization”. He provides examples of how his companies have prospered, why their growth trajectory is still so exciting and why software companies are helping re-shape supply chains and industries.

He discusses merits of private equity versus a public listing, the huge gains investors have made in their funds, and why he believes the investment opportunities are still so significant.Robert then talks about his philanthropic work, his view on reaching those communities who have been underserved and what needs to be done and committed to in order to create lasting change for good.

Robert F. Smith

Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners. He directs Vista’s investment strategy and decisions, governance and investor relations. Mr. Smith sits on the Investment Committees for Vista’s Flagship, Foundation, Endeavor and Perennial Funds and serves as a member of Vista’s Executive Committee, the firm’s governing and decision-making body for matters affecting its overall management and strategic direction, and Private Equity Management Committee, the firm’s decision-making body for matters affecting Vista’s overall private equity platform. Vista currently manages equity assets under management of $96 billion and oversees a portfolio of more than 80 enterprise software, data and technology-enabled companies that employ over 90,000 people worldwide. Since Vista’s inception, Mr. Smith has supervised over 580 completed transactions representing more than $255 billion in aggregate transaction value.

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