Who is Robert Smith?
Smith has built Vista into a powerhouse investment firm, with a portfolio of 35 companies with $26 billion in assets under management. (Vista's headquarters is in Austin's Frost Tower downtown.) Forbes magazine estimates Smith's net worth at $2.5 billion.
The 53-year-old has done it while keeping a low profile, so low that his photo isn't even listed on Vista's website.
In addition to how he built Vista, Smith talks about what it's like to be an African American man today. At least three to seven times a year, he says, he is stopped by police as he drives himself to the airport in Austin. The officers run his tags and check his license. He’s told he was speeding or changed lanes without signaling. The officers send him off, often without a ticket, he said.
“You shouldn’t have to be fearful of your life,” he said. “You should be able to drive to the airport and not be stopped three to seven times a year.”
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