Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Second Richest Black Person in the United States is...Robert Smith. Who is Robert Smith?

The second richest Black person in the United States is...Robert Smith. Who is Robert Smith ?

Robert Smith is supposed to be worth about $3 billion according to Wikipedia, 2nd to Oprah at $3 billion plus. He recently gave gave $20 million to the African American museum.

Robert Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. The company uses leveraged buyouts to take over specialized software companies that dominate small, specialized software markets such as auto dealers, event management, fleet management, government compliance, and others. None of the companies are large outside of their specific markets. The only widely known company on the list is TIBCO, a data and interface integration company.  

Vista Equity buys and/or invests in niche market software leaders.  The company then brings in corporate (conglomerate) benefits such as humans resource management, legal, financial reporting, executive development and consulting while letting individual companies handle development, technology, and growth. Strategically, they are moving their portfolio of software to the cloud model of Software as a Service (SaaS). 

Vista Partners is also making a lot of acquisitions lately.  They are hoping to benefit from the consolidating software market and reduced competition. They buying market share and wiping out competitors.

The Washington Post had a nice story on Robert Smith. Here

Here is a link to Vista Equity Partners. Robert Smith has famously not put his picture on the web site. He is concerned about driving away business. Vista Equity Partners is on it's fifth round 

If you want to better understand how Vista works, I recommend looking at their list of software companies, here, and open positions, here. The opens positions are mostly in sales.

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