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SmartBear Announces Investment from Vista Equity Partners

Press Releases — Oct 21, 2020



Deal Facts

North America


Somerville -- SmartBear, a leading provider of software development and quality tools, announced today that it has secured a significant investment from Vista Equity Partners (“Vista”), a leading global investment firm focused on enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses. Francisco Partners, a leading global technology-focused investment firm, will continue as an investor with Vista and Francisco Partners as equal owners of the company.

SmartBear, which was acquired by Francisco Partners in 2017, is based in the greater Boston area and provides software development solutions used by more than 15 million developers, testers and operations engineers at over 24,000 organizations. SmartBear solutions support the rapidly growing DevOps market and include innovative technologies around API lifecycle management, test automation, test management, performance optimization and collaboration. These solutions are used by leading organizations to accelerate the design, development and release of higher-quality software at scale.

“Speaking on behalf of everyone at SmartBear, I am thrilled to welcome Vista as investors,” said Frank Roe, CEO of SmartBear. “Having the significant backing of two leading PE firms demonstrates the tremendous track record our products and employees have delivered so far, as well as the growth and demand in our markets. As every company is rapidly transforming to digital-first, we’re seeing a dramatically increasing demand for SmartBear solutions from developers, testers and entire organizations focused on consistently delivering high-quality software at the speed that business demands.”

SmartBear solutions span the entire software delivery lifecycle and enable organizations to reduce costs and accelerate time to market. Vista’s capital investment in SmartBear, along with the firm’s deep experience partnering with world-class enterprise software companies and their leadership teams, will enable SmartBear to broaden and strengthen its solutions as well as identify opportunities for continued organic and inorganic growth.

“The SmartBear suite of best-in-class DevOps solutions and its commitment to open source communities is a validation of the strength of its products and positions the company for continued growth in this rapidly accelerating market,” said Michael Fosnaugh, Co-Head of Vista Flagship Fund and Senior Managing Director of Vista. “We look forward to partnering with Frank and the SmartBear team along with Francisco Partners to continue providing innovative and valuable solutions to software teams around the world.”

Brian Decker, Partner, and Evan Daar, Principal at Francisco Partners, remarked, “Since our investment in SmartBear, the company has built an impressive track record as a market-leading platform in the large and growing DevOps market.”

“Frank and the SmartBear team have shown a tremendous ability to accelerate organic and inorganic growth over the last few years and we are excited to continue the journey with the company alongside Vista,” added David Golob, Chief Investment Officer at Francisco Partners.

Evercore acted as lead financial advisor to Francisco Partners and SmartBear on the transaction with Shea & Company also advising. Paul Hastings LLP served as legal advisor to SmartBear, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor for Vista.

About Vista Equity Partners

Vista is a leading global investment firm with more than $58 billion in cumulative capital commitments. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organizations across private equity, credit, public equity and permanent capital strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista’s investments are anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Further information is available at Follow Vista on LinkedIn @Vista Equity Partners.

About Francisco Partners

Francisco Partners is a leading global investment firm that specializes in partnering with technology and technology-enabled businesses. Since its launch 20 years ago, Francisco Partners has raised over $24 billion in committed capital and invested in more than 300 technology companies, making it one of the most active and longstanding investors in the technology industry. The firm invests in opportunities where its deep sectoral knowledge and operational expertise can help companies realize their full potential. For more information on Francisco Partners, please visit

The company’s products help deliver the highest quality and best performing software possible while helping teams ship code at nearly impossible velocities. With products for API testing, UI testing, code review and performance monitoring across mobile, web and desktop applications, SmartBear equips every development, testing and operations team member with the tools to ensure quality at every stage of the software cycle.