New on the Forbes 400: A Look at Billionaire Robert Smith

Billionaire Robert Smith

Billionaire Robert Smith is on the cover of the newest issue of Forbes for good reason: He’s setting record-breaking precedence. For the music lovers out there: No, not the famed Robert Smith of the seminal band The Cure. This guy has a whole other business: private equity.

The private equity billionaire has a net worth of $2.5 billion. This puts him at number 268 on the richest in America list. But there is another part of this story that is important to note. Smith’s net worth also makes him the second richest African American in America—trailing only to Oprah Winfrey and taking long-time sports legend Michael Jordan down to the number three slot.

Sure, few know who Smith is. He isn’t a national or international celebrity (at least not before the new Forbes issues). He’s the founder, chairman and chief executive of the private equity firm Vista Equity and Partners in Austin, Texas. But he’s making impressive gains. Vista Equity Partners holds a sizable $15.9 billion in client assets.

Vista is a strong company that only appears to be doing better by the say. It has 30% in annual returns in enterprise software. The company was recently valued at $4.3 billion when Neuberger Berman’s Dyal Partners bought a stake in July, 2015. Smith owns more than half of Vista. This means he is not only an incredibly wealthy man, but this 52-year-old’s fortune has a bright future as well. This is likely only the beginning.