On this day, December 1 in the year 1962, one of the wealthiest African-American businessmen was born in Colorado, United States of America. His name is Robert Smith, the founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity company. According to forbes.com, his net worth was $5.2 billion as of December, 2020.
Robert Smith was the son of teachers with PhDs. As a high school students, he was allowed internship at Bell Labs after persistently calling weekly for 5 months. He attended Cornell University and graduated with a degree in chemical engineering. Later, he acquired his MBA from Columbia University. He worked for Kraft Foods as a chemical engineer and technical supervisor where he obtained 4 patents.
After he earned his MBA, Mr. Smith joined Goldman Sachs in 1994 as an investment advisor with a focus on mergers and acquisitions among technology companies. Among his clients were Microsoft, Apple and Texas Instruments. He earned his first million by the time he reached 35 years of age.
In 2000, Smith founded his own investment company, Vista Equity Partners. The firm specializes in software, data, and other technology companies. As a value-added investor, its investment strategy is long-term, offering financial and intellectual capital in partnership with management team to create growth opportunities.
Vista has established four main offices in Austin, Texas, in Chicago, Illinois, in San Francisco and Oakland, California. Today, it has $30 billion in capital investments in over 45 start-ups including technology solutions firm Advicent and advertising firm Mediaocean as well as Omnitracs, a transportation industry software provider.
Robert Smith has married twice and has five children. He is a camera-shy executive, preferring to be known by his abilities rather than turn-off potential clients by virtue of his skin color.