Vista’s Robert Smith says there are more opportunities in private markets than public right now

Robert Smith, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, said Wednesday that there’s a marked disparity in investment opportunities between the public and private markets.

Smith, who spoke with CNBC’s David Faber from the Delivering Alpha conference, said that his firm continues to look at high-growth investments in enterprise software versus more mature areas of technology that the public markets still emphasize.

“There’s actually a bit of dislocation of opportunity because 98% of enterprise software companies are private,” Smith said. 

“One of the keys is understanding what businesses are the right businesses to invest in as a private equity firm,” he added. “From our perspective, it’s really interesting: The public markets continue to focus on what we call hardware and consumer technology.”

Vista, now 20 years old, has carved out a niche for itself on Wall Street by investing in young software companies and restructuring them according to

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