WILMINGTONRoss Hamilton, the founder and CEO of Connected Investors, was named Entrepreneur of the Year at Wednesday’s Coastal Entrepreneur Awards (CEA).  The honor meant that he got to walk away with the CEA wooden surfboard created by Kids Making It.

Dubbed the “LinkedIn for real estate investors”, the platform provides a social network designed specifically to help people in this space connect, share resources and transact.

Founded in 2005 when Hamilton was a young real estate investor, the company reported $10 million in annual revenue in 2018. That’s more than double to the year before.

“I didn’t set out to create a technology company,” Hamilton was quoted as saying in the WilmingtonBiz.com. “It was the result of trying to solve a problem, and I found that technology was the best way to solve it.”

Screen shot of Connected Investors’ website.

More than 300 people turned up at UNCW’s Burney Center for the annual event, which is co-sponsored by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal and the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

In accepting his award, Hamilton also remarked on the growing entrepreneurial scene in Wilmington.

“Wilmington was a desert. I traveled just to surround myself with people who would speak my language,” he said of the local environment little more than a decade ago. Then came the CIE, tekMountain, and the influence of entrepreneurial activity in Raleigh and Charlotte, all of which, he said, help Wilmington area entrepreneurs pursue their dreams and ideas.

In addition to Connected Investors, which was one of two winners in the Internet-Related category, other category winners for 2019 were Cardinal Foods (Manufacturing & Distribution), Coastal Stormwater Services (Professional Services), Compass Bracelets (Retail), Good Shepherd Center(Nonprofit), Hensler Surgical Technologies (Health Care), KWHCoin (Emerging Company), myBeeHyve(Internet-Related), SportGait (Technology) and Tri-Tech Forensics (Biotech).