Ryan Smith Net Worth: The Billionaire Behind Qualtrics and Utah Jazz

Ryan Smith is an American businessman and entrepreneur who has a net worth of $2 billion, according to Forbes. He is the executive chairman and co-founder of Qualtrics, an experience management company based in Provo, Utah. He is also the owner of the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and co-owner of Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer (MLS) with sports investor David Blitzer.

From College Dropout to Cloud Computing Pioneer

Smith was born on June 28, 1978, in Eugene, Oregon. His father, Scott Smith, worked as a university professor and his mother, Nancy Smith Hill, holds a PhD in information systems . While he was attending Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Business, he founded Qualtrics with his father, and his brother, Jared. During his junior year he dropped out of school to spend more time working on Qualtrics, though he returned to school and finished his degree in 2016.

Qualtrics is a cloud-based software platform that helps businesses collect and analyze feedback from customers, employees, and other stakeholders. The company is known for its online surveys, but it also offers tools for customer experience, employee engagement, brand awareness, and product development. Qualtrics has over 13,000 customers, including more than 75% of the Fortune 100, and employs more than 3,400 people worldwide.

Smith led Qualtrics as CEO for nearly two decades, growing it from a bootstrapped startup to a unicorn valued at over $1 billion. In 2018, he was ready to take the company public, but three days before its scheduled IPO, he agreed to sell it to German software giant SAP for $8 billion in cash. The deal was one of the largest acquisitions in the history of cloud computing and made Smith a billionaire overnight.

However, Smith did not walk away from Qualtrics after the sale. He remained as CEO and continued to run the company as an independent unit within SAP. In 2021, he orchestrated a spin-off of Qualtrics, taking it public on the Nasdaq at a valuation of $27 billion. Smith still owns about 10% of Qualtrics, which accounts for most of his net worth.

From Tech Entrepreneur to Sports Mogul

Smith is not only a tech entrepreneur, but also a sports fan and philanthropist. In 2020, he fulfilled his lifelong dream of owning an NBA team, when he bought a majority stake in the Utah Jazz from Gail Miller for $1.66 billion. The deal also included Vivint Arena, the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA G League, and management of the Salt Lake Bees, a minor league baseball team.

Smith is a native of Utah and a longtime supporter of the Jazz. He has been a season ticket holder since 2014 and has a close relationship with the team’s players and coaches. He has also partnered with the Jazz to launch the “5 For The Fight” campaign, which encourages people to donate $5 to cancer research for every point the Jazz score in a season. Smith’s father died of cancer in 2019, and Smith himself is a survivor of testicular cancer.

In 2022, Smith expanded his sports portfolio by acquiring Real Salt Lake of MLS and America First Field, which included affiliate Real Monarchs and Zions Bank Stadium, from Dell Loy Hansen . He teamed up with David Blitzer, a co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, to buy the soccer club for an undisclosed amount . The pair also reestablished the Utah Royals of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in 2023, after the original team moved to Kansas City in 2020.

Conclusion

Ryan Smith is one of the most successful and influential entrepreneurs in Utah and the tech industry. He has built Qualtrics into a leading cloud company that helps businesses improve their experiences with customers and employees. He has also become a prominent sports owner and philanthropist, investing in the Utah Jazz, Real Salt Lake, and cancer research. He has a net worth of $2 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.

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