RALEIGH – Brian Hamilton probably became a millionaire many times over this week after agreeing to sell his fintech company Sageworks to a Silicon Valley private equity firm. But rather than look for a way to make even more money, he’s turning to his own form of venture capital philanthropy:
Investing in others.
Hamilton told WRAL TechWire’s Allan Maurer that he will be leaving Sageworks to focus on his nonprofit, Inmates to Entrepreneurs, which has had success in North Carolina that he would like to extend nationally.
“It’s what I’m passionate about,” he explained.
“I’m happy to be getting to that part of the journey.”
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Former prisoners, he noted, have an even harder time finding a job in the Internet age, when a Google check can bring up their crime and sentence.
Hamilton founded Inmates to Entrepreneurs in 2008 and funds it personally via a foundation. He said it has helped former inmates start dozens of businesses by providing mentorship, resources and “hope.”
His vision is to reduce the rate of recidivism by providing an alternate path to financial stability and success.
As for how much money he made from the Sageworks deal, Hamilton declined to disclose any details.
But he did want to pass along a grateful message to his adopted hometown region for helping make his firm – and himself – a success.
Hamilton also told WRAL Techwire he specifically waned to say he is thankful he started Sageworks in the Raleigh-Durham area.
“I came here from Connecticut to go to school at Duke. This is a great environment to start a tech company. So many mentors and organizations in North Carolina in general and the RTP specifically, have helped that I can’t name them all.
“I’m thankful we started here.”
Hamilton and his co-founder, Sarah Tourville met when they were teaching at Duke University. They spent two years developing Sageworks’ Financial Information into Narrative Data (FIND), which is the tech behind its ProfitCents product, but struggled to market it. But Citibank and Intuit were early adopters and in 2004, it licensed its ProfitCents product that collects U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission data into plain English text, to Lexus Nexis. They launched the company 19 years ago.
Sageworks has grown over the years to some 400 employees.
Now the time has come for his next journey.