Robert F. Smith, Chairman & CEO of Vista Equity Partners, in a conversation with Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, President & CEO of the Center for Global Policy Solutions, on The Power of Opportunity.
With offices in San Francisco, Chicago, and Austin, Texas, Vista Equity Partners is led by founder and CEO Robert F. Smith. As leader of a minority-owned firm, Robert F. Smith emphasizes leadership of Project Realize, which he launched in 2010. The nonprofit has a pioneering “free market philanthropy” ethos behind it, and it operates in the three cities in which Vista Equity Partners maintains a corporate presence.
Project Realize’s vision involves selecting promising companies that Vista adopts and helps to grow. The firm offers these companies access to its exclusive business intelligence systems and helps to guide diverse aspects of hiring and expansion planning. A current Project Realize initiative centers on the Chicago-headquartered chemical manufacturer Cedar Concepts Corp. In recent years the African American-owned firm has more than doubled its revenue, and it delivers 50 million pounds of quality, competitively priced formulations to major corporations spanning the country. Robert F. Smith takes pride in ensuring that ventures such as Cedar Concepts have the tools to expand and grow.
According to a study done by the National Association of Investment Companies, the financial returns of NAIC firms like Vista Equity Partners are superior to those of other funds due to a strong adherence to their investment theses.
Rather than focusing on quantity, Vista Equity Partners focuses on streamlining the operations of its acquisitions, rather than maximizing its buyout volumes. By putting a greater amount of its equity in each investment, it manages to vastly improve the net worth of its target holdings. NAIC firms perform 15.2 percent better on IRR measurements according to median values.
Vista Equity Partners, whose investment thesis involves enabling businesses to achieve their full potential, is led by CEO and Chairman Robert F. Smith. According to Smith, operational improvements like staff training are undertaken in each company acquired by the group. Smith cites this as one of the reasons that Vista Equity Partners has yet to lose any money on its acquisitions.
Vista Equity Partners has been in business for over 17 years, and has offices in Austin, Chicago, and San Francisco.