Ryan Smith is an American billionaire entrepreneur who first made his fortune as the co-founder of Qualtrics, a Utah-based online survey software company, one of the fastest-growing tech startups in the state’s history. Named as a young executive on Fortune magazine’s “40 Under 40" in 2016, Ryan's financial success with Qualtrics allowed him to pursue his passion in professional sports.
In October 2020, Ryan and his wife Ashley purchased a majority stake in the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Utah Jazz, following in the footsteps of tech-billionaires-turned-NBA-owners like Mark Cuban and Steve Ballmer. Ryan also became a majority owner of the Major League Soccer (MLS) club Real Salt Lake in January 2022.
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All That Jazz
Smith is known for being all-in and hands-on in everything he does. His dedication has led him to build a championship-caliber team for the Utah Jazz as he has invested in the organization’s facilities, hired new executives, and extended the contracts of key players. From 2021 to 2022, the valuation of Utah Jazz increased by 30% under Smith's leadership. He is also an active community member and uses his wealth to support charitable causes.
So how much is Ryan Smith’s net worth? From starting a billion-dollar business in his basement to reaching the pinnacle of success in professional sports ownership, Ryan Smith's path to wealth is inspiring.
Let's take a closer look at how he built his lucrative business to become a billionaire before the age of 40 and how his professional sports team ownerships helped him solidify his position as one of the wealthiest and most successful young entrepreneurs in America.
|Ryan Smith’s Net Worth||$2 billion|
|Date of Birth:||January 19, 1978|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Source of Wealth:||Co-founder and executive chairman of Qualtrics|
|Best-Known For:||Owner of the Utah Jazz of the NBA and the Real Salt Lake of the MLS|
Who is Ryan Smith?
Ryan Smith was born on January 19, 1978, in Eugene, Oregon, to parents Nancy, an entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in information systems, and Scott, a university professor. While Smith was studying at the Marriott School of Business at Brigham Young University (BYU), in 2002, he founded the experience management and survey company Qualtrics with his father, brother Jared Smith, and friend Stuart Orgill. The trio built the business in the basement of their Provo, Utah home, which became their office for the next couple of years as they grew Qualtrics.
Initially, Qualtrics received rejection from corporations, so Ryan and the team began targeting schools and organizations that could use their custom web survey software. By 2006, Qualtrics had 15 employees and reached its first million. The growth inspired Ryan to take the software back to corporations, where the reception was much warmer than before. As a result, the business grew rapidly to become one of Utah's most successful tech startups.
In 2018, German software giant SAP acquired Qualtrics for $8 billion, making Smith and his co-founders instant billionaires. When SAP spun out Qualtrics as a stand-alone public company in January 2021, Ryan purchased $120 million of the stock. Once he sold the business and secured his billionaire status, Smith turned his attention to his passion for sports, buying a majority stake in the NBA's Utah Jazz in 2020 and the MLS's Real Salt Lake in 2022.
What is Ryan Smith’s Net Worth?
Ryan Smith’s net worth is estimated to be $2 billion.
How Did Ryan Smith Buy the Utah Jazz?
Ryan Smith could only fulfill his dream of purchasing the Utah Jazz after growing his net worth as the co-founder of Qualtrics. From the company’s founding in 2002 to its sale to SAP for $8 billion in 2018, Ryan undoubtedly put in long hours and had many ups and downs along the way. Still, he persevered and achieved his goal of becoming a billionaire so that he could pursue his dreams.
Smith's late-2020 purchase of the Utah Jazz went through Smith Entertainment Group, the company he owns with his wife, Ashley. The $1.66 billion deal included the NBA G League’s Salt Lake City Stars, Vivint Arena, and management of the Minor League Baseball team, the Salt Lake Bees.
Do you dream of buying a big business like Ryan Smith? Whether you have your heart set on purchasing a professional sports franchise or have other entrepreneurial endeavors in mind, here are some steps you can take based on Ryan’s successful strategies:
- Step 1: Build up your net worth (we can help you with that!).
- Step 2: Invest in shares.
- Step 3: Wait for the right time to acquire the business.
- Step 4: Doubling down once acquired.
- Step 5: Use diversification strategies.
- Step 6: Stay focused on long-term goals.
- Step 7: Maintain a disciplined approach to investing.
- Step 8: Develop financial intelligence.
What are some of the investments that Ryan Smith has made?
While most of Ryan Smith's $2 billion net worth came from the business sale of Qualtrics in 2018, he has other investments supporting his wealth and charitable giving.
Here are some of the investments Ryan has made:
- Majority Stake in the Utah Jazz of the NBA
- Ownership of the Real Salt Lake of the MLS
- $120 million stock in Qualtrics
- $35 million home in Newport Beach
How much is Ryan Smith's net worth?
Thanks to the lucrative sale of his company, Qualtrics, and his investments in the Utah Jazz and the Real Salt Lake, Ryan Smith’s net worth is $2 billion.
What other investments has Ryan Smith made?
In addition to Qualtrics, the company he co-founded and sold, Ryan Smith’s investments have included purchasing a majority stake in the NBA’s Utah Jazz, MLS’s Real Salt Lake, and a $35 million-dollar home in Newport Beach. After selling Qualtrics in 2018 for $8 billion, Smith purchased $120 million in company stock.
What is the transaction history of the Utah Jazz team?
Founded in 1974, the Utah Jazz began as the New Orleans Jazz, an expansion team, and played in New Orleans for five seasons. The team founders and owners from 1975 to 1982 were Sam Battistone, Larry Hatfield, and Lee Schlesinger. Battiston continued as owner from 1983 to 1985 and sold the franchise in 1986 to Larry H. Miller, who relocated the team to Salt Lake City. Miller owned the Utah Jazz until his death in 2009 when the team was passed to the Miller family trust. In December 2020, Ryan Smith purchased a majority stake in the franchise for $1.66 billion.
What kind of donations has Ryan Smith made?
Ryan Smith is known for being active in the community, serving in hands-on roles, and making generous contributions to support philanthropies throughout Utah. Some of Ryan’s notable donations include:
- $27 million raised for cancer research through his charities 5 for the Fight and The Ryan and Ashley Smith Foundation
- $20 million donation to Primary Children’s Hospital
- 4-year college scholarship to an underrepresented or minority student for each Utah Jazz win in 2021
- Contributions to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, Utah Food Bank, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America
What is the valuation of the Utah Jazz team?
The Utah Jazz franchise has an estimated value of $2.25 billion, a 30% increase from last year.
Ryan Smith's net worth journey exemplifies innovation, hard work, and generosity. Of course, not everyone has the good fortune to start a business in the basement that sells for $8 billion. But that doesn't mean achieving jaw-dropping wealth isn't possible for you too.
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