Robert F. Smith Biography
Robert F.Smith is an American businessman, investor, and philanthropist. A former chemical engineer and investment banker, he is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. In 2018, Smith was ranked by Forbes as the 163rd richest person in America.
Robert F. Smith Age
Robert was born in the year 1962 Dec 1st and is 58 years as of 2021.
Robert F.Smith was born a fourth-generation Coloradoan to Dr. William Robert Smith and Dr. Sylvia Myma Smith. They were both school teachers with PhDs.
He grew up in a predominantly African American, middle-class neighborhood in Denver. He attended Carson Elementary School and attended East High School in Denver.
When he was an infant, his mother carried him to the March on Washington. Where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
In high school, he applied for an internship at Bell Labs but was told the program was intended for college students. Smith persisted, calling every day.
When a student from M.I.T. did not show up, he got the position, and that summer he developed a reliability test for semiconductors. At Cornell, he became a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Robert F. Smith Wife
In 2015, Smith married model Hope Dworaczyk in a lavish ceremony on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, featuring performances by John Legend, Seal, and Brian McKnight.
Dworaczyk was named Playboy’s Playmate of the Year in 2010 and was a host and co-producer for the Canada-based show “Inside Fashion” on E! The couple has two children together, and Smith has three other children from a previous marriage.
Robert F. Smith Net Worth
Smith is the richest black person in the United States, with a net worth of $5 billion.
Robert F. Smith photo
Robert F.Smith Foundation
Billionaire Robert F. Smith promises to pay off U.S college students’ loans
Morehouse College seniors got a surprise Sunday when billionaire investor Robert F. Smith announced during his commencement speech that he would pay off the student loan debt for the historically black college’s graduating class.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” he told the newly minted graduates in Atlanta before saying his family was creating a grant to eliminate their student loans.
The announcement was met with a standing ovation and chants of “MVP!”
“Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward,” he continued. “I want my class to look at these (alumni) — these beautiful Morehouse brothers — and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward because we care enough to take care of our own community. We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American dream.”
The exact amount to be covered for the 396 students is still being calculated, Morehouse President David A. Thomas told CNN Monday, but the figure will likely be in the tens of millions of dollars. Thomas called Smith’s gesture “a liberation gift.”
“When you have to service debt, the choices about what you can go do in the world are constrained,” he said. “(Smith’s gift) gives them the liberty to follow their dreams, their passions.”
The students’ benefactor also received an honorary degree Sunday, along with actor Angela Bassett and psychologist Edmund Gordon.
Vista Equity Partners
The entrepreneur, founder of the investment firm Vista Equity Partners, is worth about $5 billion, according to Forbes. Which reports he is the richest black person in America.
The 58-year-old Smith was a chemical engineer for Goodyear and Kraft before attending business school. Also, he worked for Goldman Sachs, specializing in technology investments, before starting Vista Equity in 2000.
Vista Equity invests solely in software, data, and technology companies and boasts capital commitments of $46 billion,
Smith has quite the generous streak. In 2016, Cornell University, one of its alma maters, renamed its chemical and biomolecular engineering school in honor of the Austin, Texas, investor after he committed to donating $50 million to the school. Furthermore, he also donated millions to cancer research and the arts.
His Fund II Foundation provides grants under five pillars: First, preserving the African-American experience.
Second, safeguarding human rights. Third, conserving the environment. Forth providing music education. Lastly, sustaining “critical American values such as entrepreneurialism.
Billionaire Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates spearheaded an effort to convince wealthy Americans to give away half of their fortunes in 2017. Where smith signed the Giving Pledge.
In signing the pledge, Smith said he would focus on causes that support equality for black Americans and the environment. However, his wife, model Hope Dworaczyk Smith, wrote that he will focus on helping children.
Smith said that he will never forget that his path was paved by his parents, grandparents, and generations of African-Americans whose names he will never know. “Their struggles, their courage, and their progress allowed him to strive and achieve. Although, My story would only be possible in America, and it is incumbent on all of us to pay this inheritance forward.
Robert F. Smith Vista Equity Partners
In 2000, Smith founded Vista Equity Partners, private equity and venture capital firm of which he is the principal founder, chairman, and chief executive.
As of 2019, Vista has over $46 billion in cumulative capital commitments, owns over 50 software companies, and has 60,000 employees worldwide, making it the fourth-largest enterprise software company after Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP.
Vista has exclusively focused on the enterprise software, data, and technology sectors. Among Vista’s portfolio companies are Finestra, TIBCO, Solera, Infoblox, Mediaocean, Vertafore, Ping Identity, Lithium, Cvent, and Datto.
In October 2014, Vista closed its Fund V at $5.8 billion.
In January 2015, Vista Equity Partners was named the best performing private equity firm for the previous 10 years, according to the HEC-Dow Jones annual ranking conducted by professor Oliver Gottschalk.
Preqin, a consulting firm that tracks the industry, reports that Vista’s third fund returned $2.46 for every dollar invested, better than every other big fundraised between 2006 and 2010, the boom years for private equity.
In 2017, Vista Equity Partners was reported to have $30 billion under management, and Smith was named as Private Equity International’s 2016 Game Changer of the Year.
Robert F.Smith Morehouse
A billionaire will pay off the debt of Morehouse College’s 2019 graduates. Here is what that gesture means
Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith’s commitment to pay off the student loan debt for graduates of the historically black Morehouse College covers millions of dollars, the school said.
“When you have to service debt, the choices about what you can go do in the world are constrained,” Morehouse President David A. Thomas said Sunday.
“(Smith’s gift) gives them the liberty to follow their dreams, their passions,” Thomas told CNN on Monday that the exact amount of student loan debt to be covered was still being calculated.
Smith’s gesture, which Thomas called “a liberation gift,” will enable graduates to have more capital to do things like start businesses and support their families.
Studies show disparities in the amount of student debt African-American borrowers amass compared to their white counterparts.
Black borrowers have higher rates of default
Nearly half of African-American students defaulted on a federal student loan within 12 years of entering college. This is according to the Center for American Progress report.
The report said black students owed more than 100% of what they originally borrowed within that time.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus.” the 56-year-old Smith, the founder of the investment firm Vista Equity Partners, told the students of the school in Atlanta.