Private Equity Masters 3: Robert F. Smith – Vista Equity Partners (Capital Allocators, EP.202)
Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO, Vista Equity Partners. Vista is a private investment firm that focuses entirely on enterprise software companies and manages $75 billion in assets across private equity, permanent capital, credit and public vehicles.
Taken together, Vista’s current portfolio companies are about 70 in number and house 70,000 employees, 700,000 customers across 175 countries, and 200 million global users. Its combined revenue would make the portfolio one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world.
Our conversation covers Robert’s background, the special characteristics of enterprise software, screening potential targets, adding value through industry expertise, assessing management teams, employing operational and financial leverage, and exiting investments. We then turn to managing Vista and the competitive landscape, and close with reflections on Robert’s past mistakes and impact through philanthropy.