Today's Entrepreneur: Ian Ross

Mingmei Niu · May 4, 2014 · Short URL:

No. 1 Mistake: Failing to recognize a bad idea

Today's Entrepreneur is Ian Ross, CEO and Founder of OppSites, which empowers municipalities and professional planners to identify sites where increased economic opportunity exists, and broadcast that information to the investment community. OppSites allows Investors and Developers to find investment opportunities that may not be publicly listed, and learn about development priorities and incentives.

OppSites is one of the top 15 finalist to present at Splash Oakland on May 6-7. Be sure to support Ross and OppSitesRegister here

Here's a look at Ross' entrepreneurial background.

Companies I've founded or co-founded:

Companies I work or worked for:

Achievements (products built, personal awards won):

American Planning Association (California Chapter) Award for economic revitalization and urban design - San Fernando Corridor Specific Plan; Policy framework for the revitalization of underutilized property along the city's three primary corridors.

If you are an entrepreneur, why?

We recognized that cities simply lack an efficient tool to communicate with prospective investors. e their goals

My favorite startups:

Fundrise, Ioby

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

We enjoy spending our days at the edge of the unknown, both in terms of product development and anticipating our client's needs. Everyday is like sailing into uncharted waters: we encounter new problems and devise new solutions accordingly. Of course, we also encounter unforeseen setbacks, and are learning to adapt to an ever changing bar menu.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

Listen to everybody. Even if you disagree with the content, it's crucial to nderstand the thinking behind the opinion being expressed.

Delegate until it hurts.

Keep cool. 

Full bio

Ian founded OppSites to empower cities to take an active role in revitalizing their communities.

The need for OppSites grew out of Ian's 15 years of experience providing urban design and economic revitalization strategies to dozens of California cities, and witnessing firsthand how many communities fail to achieve their goals simply because they lack an effective tool to communicate their priorities to prospective investors.

Ian is the Founding Principal of City Design Collective, and Oakland based urban design firm that provides strategies, policies, capital improvement plans, and  development regulations critical to the revitalization of downtowns, corridors, waterfronts, and mixed-use neighborhoods. Ian is an experienced public speaker and frequently leads educational public workshops, design studios, and charrettes.

Ian received his Masters degree in Urban Design from Cornell University, and holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Rochester.

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs



Joined Vator on

OppSites connect the government and real estate sectors in a $250 billion annual marketplace. OppSites provide the real estate sector with valuable insight into real estate development opportunities aligned with community goals.

OppSites promotes strategically important, commercially valuable, yet underexposed markets with standardized municipal data, to enhance transparency and efficiency while maximizing investment and revenue. Investors find underexposed opportunities, reduce risk, and get an edge on their competition. 

Our product:

  • Maximizes economic development priorities with speed and efficiency

  • Implements economic, political and community planning goals

  • Increases revenue and the value of the tax base

  • Saves staff time and money with a cloud based software that is easy to update  

  • Increases government transparency by providing data in a familiar searchable map interface

  • Leverages local assets and investments for greater ROI

  • Enhances services of planners and economic development organizations

  • Generates leads

  • Builds professional networks

  • Enhances marketing efforts by promoting opportunities directly to an international investor network

Cities & Municipalities

Cities maximize economic development by sharing local knowledge, and promoting development priorities on a national scale. With the click of a button, cities can share valuable information that investors need to know about what they would like to see built, and where. This national exposure helps cities attract partners to development priorities that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Investment Community

For investors, brokers, and developers, OppSites is like having a personal relationship with every city. Investors use OppSites to find underexposed development opportunities and follow preferred cities to learn about opportunities before they hit the market. To reduce risk, OppSites delivers real time civic and market intelligence about strategic opportunities, community goals, priorities, and incentives.

The OppSites team of specialized urban design, real estate, and technology professionals is passionate about solving the economic development challenges facing cities and real estate investors. Our expertise drives the innovation and power of OppSites.


Ian Ross

Joined Vator on

Since 1999 Ian has provided services to assist cities to envision, enable, and realize their desired future. My background in economics and urban design has positioned OppSites at the intersection of city planning and private sector investment.