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Entrepreneurs

Connected Investors Founder Creates Affordable Housing Nonprofit

By Audrey Elsberry, posted Nov 16, 2023
Ross Hamilton is the founder of Connected Investors, a technology startup that connected real estate investors. (file photo)
Entrepreneur Ross Hamilton has a new venture.

Hamilton, who founded Connected Investors in Wilmington in 2006, has turned his attention to affordable housing after selling Connected Investors in 2021.

Since leaving Connected Investors in October, Hamilton launched Saving Homes, a nonprofit helping families avoid foreclosure. 

In the 2000s, Hamilton made a living by flipping houses while studying at Cape Fear Community College. He would also knock on the doors of families whose houses were in danger of being foreclosed on and offer them financial assistance. 

He began building what would become his company, Connected Investors, a social media and digital resource for real estate investors. With help from tekMountain, a tech incubator owned by CastleBranch, Connected Investors started making hires and could grow in tekMountain’s office space.

He credits local businesspeople, like CastleBranch Founder and CEO Brett Martin, for helping his startup get off the ground, getting its own office space in downtown Wilmington and winning a Coastal Entrepreneurship Award in 2019.

The site allows real estate investors and lenders to connect and also sells data to real estate investors to help them find investments — information not available to the general public, Hamilton said.

In 2021, Hamilton decided it was time to sell his growing business. After fielding multiple offers from companies like Charlotte-based Lending Tree, Connected Investors was sold to First American Title, a Fortune 100 company based in California. Hamilton said he could not disclose the price at which it sold.

The sale closed on July 16, 2021, and Hamilton continued at the company to aid in the transition. He had been looking to sell the company for a while after running it for 15 years, he said. But looking back, he is grateful he stayed on to ensure the transition ran smoothly with new First American leadership. 

Connected Investors is still up and running under First American Title leadership. The purchase allowed for back-end data to be improved using First American’s data. The company handles one out of every three real estate closings in the U.S., Hamilton said.

Now, with his newfound free time, Hamilton has been working on the launch of his nonprofit, Saving Homes.

“Saving Homes is a tech-forward platform, helping individual families that are losing their house to foreclosure save their house,” Hamilton said.

The nonprofit provides an interest-free loan to a family in need, and when the house sells or the family refinances, they give the loan back to Saving Homes, he said. The organization uses the loan like a lifejacket. Hamilton likens the organization’s structure to GoFundMe for people losing their houses.

Now living in Asheville, Hamilton launched the organization’s website six months ago but has been collecting partners and building its board for a year, he said. The website is focused on helping families in North Carolina and has a goal of saving 52 houses from foreclosure in 2024.
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