Where Are They Now: Jesse Lipson
Jesse Lipson has been integral to the triangle’s entrepreneurial fabric since attending Duke University in 1996. Lipson’s timeline as an entrepreneur is impressive, even more so when reminded that he’s a self-taught software developer. By the time he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in philosophy, Lipson had already started several ventures and was on his way to becoming a full-time entrepreneur by the age of 23 with his company novelProjects.
Lipson is best known for founding Sharefile, an application that provided companies with a secure way to exchange large and confidential files. Sharefile’s growth and promise led to Citrix acquiring the platform in 2011. Lipson went on to serve in various roles at the company, most notably as Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Cloud Services. Today, Sharefile has over 3 million users and employs more than 80 individuals.
During his Sharefile days, Lipson founded Raleigh Founded with Brooks Bell, Jason Widen, and Christopher Gergen. Like his fellow founders, Lipson knew that the Raleigh Ecosystem was craving a place that catered to and gave back to the local entrepreneurial community. His experience with starting and scaling Sharefile exposed Lipson firsthand to the challenges that founders face pertaining to office space. At the time, the market lacked options that offered flexible lease terms, forcing entrepreneurs to sign 5-10 year lease agreements without adequate information to know if that space would accommodate their needs long-term.
As a result, the ability to accommodate growing and scaling startups has been an intrinsic part of Raleigh Founded’s DNA since its inception. Our dedication to helping our members grow means you could sign up for a two-person space and then grow into a 50-person one in the same calendar year while staying in our community and avoiding lease penalties.
Lipson’s commitment to the entrepreneurial community carries on past his dedication to flexibility for entrepreneurs through Raleigh Founded. In 2018, Lipson launched Real Magic, a company building products that foster creativity and entrepreneurship. Real Magic’s first product, Levitate, is a communication tool that helps small and medium-sized businesses build and maintain relationships. Lipson’s success with Levitate has been astonishing, crossing the threshold of having over 3,500 paying customers last fall.
Most recently, Levitate had an incredibly successful Series C fundraising round during which the platform raised 14m dollars - and they’re only continuing to grow. With the announcement of the platform’s new intuitive AI assistant and other features in the works, Levitate has a lot lined up for the future. We’re proud to have them in our community and are delighted to watch their continued growth.