Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Vista Equity Partners. Vista is a U.S.-based investment firm with offices in Austin, Chicago, and San Francisco, with more than $30 billion in cumulative capital commitments, and oversees a portfolio of over 35 software companies that employ over 50,000 employees worldwide. Since Vista’s founding in 2000, Mr. Smith has overseen over 290 completed transactions by the firm representing over $91 billion in transaction value.
Born in Colorado to two parents with PhDs, Mr. Smith trained as an engineer at Cornell University, earning his B.S. in Chemical Engineering. Following his MBA from Columbia Business School with honors, Mr. Smith worked at Kraft General Foods, where he earned two United States and two European patents.
In 1994, he joined Goldman Sachs in tech investment banking, first in New York and then in Silicon Valley. As Co‐Head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50 billion in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, eBay, and Yahoo.
Mr. Smith is the founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving the African‐American experience, safeguarding human rights, providing music education, preserving the environment while promoting the benefits of the outdoors, and sustaining critical American values.
Mr. Smith is the Chairman of Carnegie Hall and the Chairman of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. 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.