Robert Smith

Robert Smith’s Vista Equity Firm Expands On AI By Raising Over $20B In Funding 

Looks like Vista is about to take over!

Vista Equity Partners recently closed in on funding by raising over $20 billion for its eighth flagship fund. 

Founded by billionaire Robert Smith, the fund is an expansion on a capital campaign seeking to bring in more than its initial $17 billion — the firm’s largest fund to date. In a letter to investors, Smith touches on Vista’s vision to reach new heights in the world of artificial intelligence. The firm hopes to push AI’s value forward as a critical component in the underwriting process. “You will also hear more about how we have adopted generative artificial intelligence not just as a tool but as a pivotal component of our value creation and underwriting processes,” Smith wrote.

“This has enabled us to identify and capitalize on opportunities, including dramatically expanding TAM, product innovation, GTM strategies, with greater precision and speed, ensuring that we stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly evolving market landscape.”

The firm hosted its annual general meeting on April 17, during which partners sat in for an on-stage conversation between Smith and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Vista is adding to the conversation about the need to secure a large amount of capital to maximize AI’s opportunity expansion. 

In September 2023, Smith penned another letter in celebration of his firm completing 18 monetization events that kicked off his fundraising season in November 2021, including a $4.6 billion sale of the platform Apptio, which they acquired in 2019 for $1.9 billion, to IBM. The company’s software helps customers understand and manage their tech spending. Lucrative deals made Vista’s sixth fund “the only $10 billion-plus buyout fund raised since 2016” with a 100% return on commitments and achieving a Net TVPI greater than 2x.

According to TechCrunch, Vista recently secured another deal by acquiring Model N, a revenue optimization and compliance provider in the pharmaceutical and medical tech space. In an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.25 billion, the firm will take over all of Model N’s outstanding common stock shares at $30 per share. Adding Model N to the firm’s already impressive portfolio marks Vista’s fifth acquisition since late 2022. 

Vista has purchased Avalara for $8.4 billion, KnowBe4 at $4.6 billion, and Duck Creek Technologies and EngageSmart for a combined total of $6.6 billion. The deal is expected to close in mid-2024 while it goes through a review of usual conditions, including shareholder approval.