As founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Vista Equity Partners, Robert Smith directs Vista’s investment strategy and decisions, firm governance and investor relations. Vista is a U.S.-based investment firm with offices in Austin, Chicago and San Francisco, with more than $28 billion in cumulative capital commitments, and oversees a portfolio of over 35 software companies that employ over 45,000 employees worldwide. Since Vista’s founding in 2000, Smith has overseen over 240 completed transactions by the firm representing over $73Bn in transaction value. For the second time, based on its performance over the last 11 years, Vista was named as world’s #1 performing private equity firm, according to the HEC-Dow Jones annual ranking.
Prior to founding Vista, Smith worked for Goldman Sachs, M&A, in New York and Silicon Valley. As co-head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50B in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay and Yahoo.
Smith’s business achievements and global philanthropic works have received recognition from numerous entities ‐ including the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Chair’s Award, SEO’s Reginald F. Lewis Achievement Award, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Robert Toigo Foundation, the Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Investment Companies, the Pierre Toussaint Award from the Archdiocese of New York, and the Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award.
In addition to being the chairman of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Smith is also the chairman of Carnegie Hall and the founding director and president of the Fund II Foundation. He serves on the Board of Overseers of Columbia Business School, as a member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and a trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco. In January 2016, Cornell University honored Smith's leadership by naming the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.
Smith earned his B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University and his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. He is the principal inventor on two United States and two European patents.