Private equity, Content

Vista Equity Partners CEO Pays Graduating Class Student Debt


Vista Equity Partners, the current owner of Datto, has a true philanthropist working in the corner office. Indeed, Vista CEO Robert Smith gave Morehouse College's Class of 2019 a big surprise during a commencement speech over the weekend. The surprise involved his vow to pay off student loan debt for the historically black college's graduating class, CNN reports.

"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," Smith said, according to the college. "My family is going to create a grant to eliminate your student loans."

The college is still calculating how much the grant will cost Smith, who has a net worth of $5 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

Updated: The gift will likely be about $40 million, Bloomberg reports.

Vista Equity Partners CEO Robert Smith: Background

Smith founded Vista Equity Partners in 2000 to focus on the software industry. Earlier, he held key posts at Kraft Foods and Goodyear Tire before earning his MBA at Columbia University, Forbes says.

Vista Equity Partners' current portfolio includes Apptio, Datto, LogicMonitor, and Ping, among dozens more. Private equity firms have been particularly active in the MSP technology market, scooping up firms that largely power SMB IT services.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.