With over 200 deals in the SaaS space to his name since the start of this decade, several of them north of 10 figures, Brian Sheth is a force to be reckoned with in the technology investing world. Sheth, the co-founder of Vista Equity, has cut B2B software deals in a wide range of industries, from financial services to education, healthcare, and everything in between.
Prospects were not always so good, however. In 1999, when Vista Equity was founded, the idea of conducting private equity software deals was not viewed as feasible by many. The firm’s success can at least in part be attributed to Sheth’s unique background and perspective.
Born into a lower-middle class family in Acton, Massachusetts, Sheth grew to appreciate technology because his father, an immigrant from India, worked in Boston’s famed Route 128 tech corridor.
After graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Sheth worked in mergers and acquisitions at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, where he advised clients in a variety of industries, including software, hardware, semiconductors, and online media. From humble beginnings, Sheth has risen up to amass an estimated net worth of $2 billion.
Today, the private equity fund he co-manages has capital commitments of approximately $31 billion and a portfolio of more than 35 software companies. The firm’s funds have returned 22% net of fees since inception, according to data from PitchBook, and Vista was proclaimed the world’s top-performing private equity firm by the 2014 HEC-Dow Jones Private Equity Performance Ranking.
The constant deal making hasn’t managed to gobble up all of Sheth’s time. He also sits on the boards of several companies, including Autotask, Bullhorn, MRI software and The Active Network, among many others. He also chairs the Global Wildlife Conservation, which protects endangered habitats and species globally.