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Cornell Venture Capitalists

Robert Smith

BS '85

Managing Principal
Vista Equity Partners (San Francisco, CA)


Robert founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 and is the firm's Managing Principal. Prior to founding Vista, Robert was the Co-Head of the Enterprise Systems and Storage sector for Goldman, Sachs & Co's investment banking division. While at Goldman, he executed and advised on merger and acquisition activity across a broad range of technology segments, including semiconductors, contract manufacturing, data networking, computer systems, B2B and enterprise software, and Internet infrastructure. Robert also served as the business unit manager for Goldman's Mergers and Acquisitions group, and was responsible for conflict clearance, team staffing, recruiting, marketing strategy, and fee schedule integrity.

Prior to Goldman, Robert worked at Kraft General Foods (KGF) in strategic planning and development. He served as Technical Supervisor in the Food Service Division and was responsible for product, equipment and process development. While at KGF, he also developed a proprietary processing technology, launched four product reformulations, integrated processing technology from a major European acquisition and designed and implemented a distribution acquisition strategy. He is the principal inventor on two United States and two European patents.


Robert holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and an MBA, with a concentration in Finance and Marketing, from Columbia Business School.

Board Affiliations

Robert currently sits on the boards of Reynolds & Reynolds, BigMachines, Brainware, Craig/is, MDSI, SirsiDynix, Surgical Information Systems, and Ventyx. He has previously been on the boards of Applied Systems, Aspect Communications, SER Solutions, SourceNet Solutions, and SRC Software. He is also a member of the Young President's Organization and a director of the Bay Area Discovery Museum.