Home Feature North Carolina Startup Lands Another $8M For ‘Keep-In-Touch’ App

North Carolina Startup Lands Another $8M For ‘Keep-In-Touch’ App

by Chantal Allam

Two years after launching, this North Carolina startup has quadrupled revenue and hit 2,000 paying customers.

Meet Real Magic, the Raleigh-based software company founded by serial entrepreneur and Triangle startup scene fixture, Jesse Lipson.

This week, the four-time 43-year-old founder confirmed that Real Magic has landed another $8 million.

That’s on top of $6 million raised last July, bringing total fundraising to $20 million.

“The events of 2020 reminded us of how unpredictable the world can be,” he told Hypepotamus. “I sleep better at night knowing we have enough funding to continue to invest in the company through market turbulence.”

The company’s first product, keeping in line with the magic theme, is called Levitate, a “keep-in-touch” marketing platform that helps businesses grow.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, it’s taking off. In just the last year, the company 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. “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.”


A Triangle success story

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.

It is now valued at $16.2 billion.

Lipson says he believes Levitate will grow even bigger than Sharefile.

“I actually have a column in our business model that shows historical data of ShareFile’s run-rate revenue at the same point in the company history for each month,” he says.

“Our run-rate revenue is about double ShareFile’s at the same point in the companies’ history.”


Scaling quickly

For the time being, however, he’s not planning on an exit anytime soon. Instead, he’s focused on scaling quickly.

Today, the startup is based out of co-working hub Raleigh Founded and has around 100 employees.

Lipson says he plans to almost double that figure by the year-end.

“We hope to hire 50-75 people across all departments: sales, marketing, engineering, customer success, support, and operations,” he says.

The company is also expanding its headquarters. It signed a lease at the new Gateway Plaza site, where Raleigh Founded also offers office space, where Lipson says the team will move next week.

Funding will also be used to serve “new industry verticals.”

“I’m particularly excited to build some really great new product features to help our clients keep in touch in a more authentic way than any other solution in the market,” Lipson says.



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