Of the many texts and emails that Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith received since Sunday afternoon after agreeing to sell his software company to Germany's SAP for $8 billion, one in particular stood out. It was from Utah Jazz star Ricky Rubio.
The Spanish point guard congratulated Smith on the deal, but he was really texting about something else. Rubio wanted to know what the acquisition meant for 5 for the Fight, an organization launched by Smith and his family in 2016 to raise money for cancer research by encouraging people to donate $5 in the name of someone battling cancer.
Local basketball fans know the slogan because it's emblazoned on Jazz uniforms, and they know Qualtrics because the company is based in Provo, 45 miles south of Salt Lake City. For Rubio, the cause is personal. His grandmother died from cancer, and his mother succumbed to the disease in 2016. Rubio has been declared the group's first ambassador, speaking publicly about his story and raising money in support.
"They wear 5 for the Fight on their jersey and he wanted to know what's going to happen to it," said Smith, who co-founded Qualtrics in 2002 while his dad, Scott, was being treated for throat cancer. "I said nothing's going to change. We're all in."