RALEIGH – For the second time in seven months, Jesse Lipson is filling his coffers.
The four-time 42-year-old founder has landed another $8 million for his latest venture, a software company called Real Magic. That’s on top of $6 million raised last July, bringing total fundraising to $20 million.
Its first product, aptly called Levitate, is a “keep-in-touch” marketing platform that helps businesses grow. A little more than two years after launching, Lipson says it’s taking off.
“Given all of the uncertainty in the world, we decided that having some extra money on the balance sheet was a good idea,” Lipson told WRAL TechWire.
“The events of 2020 reminded us of how unpredictable the world can be, and I sleep better at night knowing we have enough funding to continue to invest in the company through market turbulence.”
Even in the midst of a pandemic, Lipson says his business has quadrupled its revenue and doubled its customer base, hitting 2,000 paid customers.
“In many ways, Levitate is even more relevant during this time because people need to keep in touch virtually instead of in person,” he says.
Backers included existing investors (Tippet Venture Partners, Peter Gassner, and Bull City Venture Partners) along with Lipson, who participated in this round personally.
“We are excited about this investment to support Levitate as it enters into its next phase of significant growth,” said Jason Caplain, general partner at Bull City Venture Partners, in a statement. “We continue to be impressed with Jesse and the team and believe they are well positioned to pioneer the keep in touch marketing space in the years ahead.”
With the funding, Lipson says he plans to invest in further improving the product, building brand awareness and scaling his team.
“We have over 100 employees now, and we are looking to hire 50-75 more people in 2021,” he says.
Lipson is one of the Triangle’s big success stories and homegrown talents.
After graduating from Duke University in 2000, the self-taught engineer became a full-time entrepreneur at 23. Later, he launched Sharefile, a file transfer service that he grew to four million users in six years and sold to Citrix in 2011.
Two years ago, it ranked #80 on Forbes’ Just Companies list, with a market cap of $13 billion.