How Sandy Robertson Made His Mark on Silicon Valley Private Equity and Investment Banking

For Sanford “Sandy” Robertson, finding success in the business world only served as ammunition for his next work and never provided a reason to slow down. A pioneer in the creation of West Coast technology banking as an industry in the late 1960’s, Sandy remained one of the segment’s most influential participants as he paved his way at the forefront of the private equity and tech sectors.

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Earlier in this career, Robertson, a legend in his industry, served as vice president and director at Smith Barney. After Smith Barney, Sandy founded Robertson, Coleman, Siebel & Weisel, a prominent technology investment bank later named Montgomery Securities, the predecessor to Bank of America Securities.

In 1978, Robertson founded San Francisco-based boutique investment bank Robertson Stephens & Co., a high-profile underwriter of IPOS, mergers and acquisitions of the 1990’s, focused primarily on technologies companies. As one of the most active investment banks in the tech sector at the height of the internet boom, Stephens & Co. was responsible for underwriting over 600 IPOS, and raised more than $20 billion between 1978 to 2001. Shortly after, the firm was closed by its parent company FleetBoston in July 2002 as a result of the dot-com bubble.

Sandy exited Robertson Stephens for greener pastures when he sold it to BankAmerica in 1998 and founded Francisco Partners, the world’s largest technology-focused private equity fund in 1999. The firm, with offices in Silicon Valley and London, seeks to bring value to its portfolio companies through senior investment professional each specialized in specific sub-segments of the tech industry. Francisco Partners works closely with management teams, emphasizing the importance of corporate strategy, operational excellence and financial performance, while leveraging the firm’s network, resources and experience to add value.

Robertson’s PE group focuses on strategic and operational transformation across a wide range of tech sectors including healthcare IT, software and services, communications, financial technology and payments and security. With over $10 billion of capital raised to date, Francisco typically provides transaction values from $20 million to over $2 billion and has invested in over 85 portfolio companies with more than 100 follow-on acquisitions.

Francisco Partners earned Private Equity Firm of the Year in 2016 for a stellar period which included the purchase of broadcast management software company Sintec Media, the sale of medication management software provider Aesynt for $275 million and the IPO of Ichor Holdings Ltd. The firm’s close of its $2.4 mega-deal to buy Dell Inc.’s software group as the tech giant raised funds to purchase EMC for $67 billion, was its most significant of the year, followed by carve-outs of Quest Software and SonicWall.

At the helm of Francisco as Co-Founder and Partner Emeritus, Robertson has had significant financing involvement in more than 500 growth technology companies, including Dell Computer, E*Trade, Applied Materials, 3Com, American Online (AOL), Sun, Ascend and Siebel. Sandy is a member on the board at various major firms, including his position as a lead independent director at CRM market leader Salesforce Technology.

He also serves on the board of Dolby Laboratories, Pain Therapeutics, RPX, the Schwab Fund for Charitable Giving and the President’s Board at the University of Michigan. Sandy and his wife, Jeanne, support a multitude of diverse philanthropic initiatives, including support of his alma mater, the University of Michigan, where he received the David B. Hermelin Award for Fundraising Volunteer Leadership, the highest award bestowed on donors and volunteers of the University.