About Robert F. Smith


Robert F. Smith is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners LLC. Mr. Smith founded Vista in 2000. For more than 10 years, Vista has consistently performed among the top private equity firms in the world. The firm currently manages and controls a growing portfolio of software companies (http://www.vistaequitypartners.com/companies).   
Prior to founding Vista, Mr. Smith worked for Goldman Sachs, M&A, from 1994 to 2000, in New York and Silicon Valley. As Co-Head of Enterprise Systems and Storage, he executed and advised on over $50B in merger and acquisition activity with companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Texas Instruments, Ebay and Yahoo, amongst many others.

From 1986 to 1992, Mr. Smith worked for Kraft where he led numerous enterprise wide technical projects. He is the Principal Inventor on (2) United States and (2) European patents.

Mr. Smith was awarded his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and his MBA from Columbia Business School. While at Columbia, he received the Roswell C. McCrea Award, served as the President of the BBSA and as the elected Commencement Speaker for the Columbia Business School, MBA Class of 1994.

In November 2010, Mr. Smith launched a national philanthropic effort called Project Realize. This visionary approach – termed “Free Market Philanthropy” – combines the best elements of the American free enterprise system with the core American ideals of giving back and lifting others up. Project Realize currently operates in Chicago, Austin and San Francisco. Mr. Smith is also a member of the Leadership Circle for the MLK Memorial in Washington DC; is active with  COMP (Children's Opportunities for Music Participation), a program that provides instruments and music education to young people who have historically been underserved in access to the arts; and is supportive of his fellow global citizens in countries such as Africa, Nicaragua and Haiti. Additional information on Mr. Smith's philanthropic efforts can be found at www.zoelimaxfoundation.org

Mr. Smith’s business achievements and global philanthropic works have received recognition from numerous entities - including the 2011 Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Robert Toigo Foundation, 2010 Ripple of Hope Award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Investment Companies and the 2010 Columbia University BBSA Distinguished Alumni Award.

Mr. Smith is a Chairman of the Board of the Robert F. Kennedy Center, Member of the Cornell Engineering College Council, and a Trustee of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco. Mr. Smith is also an avid fly fisherman

The Project Realize


As beneficiaries of our great American economic system, we feel that it is incumbent upon us to give back and help grow another great American company to its full potential.

How It Works

After companies apply for our program, they are interviewed and selected based on various criteria. Our team then works with the selected companies for 1-3 years on strategy development and operational improvements. The goal is to help those companies realize their full operational and financial performance potential.

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Project Realize is currently engaged with Falcon Containers full-time and Cedar Concepts in an advisory capacity. Falcon, founded in 2002, is an Austin-based provider of portable storage solutions and modified container solutions.  Cedar, founded in 1991, is a Chicago-based chemical manufacturer.

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The Founder

Robert F. Smith, Founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, one of the world's leading private equity firms, founded Project Realize in the Fall of 2010. Vista Equity Partners has delivered outstanding investment results to its investors for over ten years.

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