ShareFile founder and HQ Raleigh Founding Partner, Jes Lipson, is at it again: creating another incredible software that has already proven to add value to its users and raise a $6 million round this year alone.
Regardless of what industry you are in, you have probably encountered a CRM system (customer relationship management). A standard CRM system is an interactive database where you can keep your email contacts in order, but all too often CRM systems become busy and cluttered and the management of the management tool can be a job in and of itself.
Jes Lipson, founder and former CEO of ShareFile and founding partner of HQ Raleigh, knew this challenge all too well, so it’s no surprise that he leaned into this issue with his resources and knowledge to create a product to solve this issue. That product is called Levitate.
It’s all about Connecting
Rather than jump into the ring with hundreds of other CRM systems, Levitate (a product of Jes’s new company, Real Magic) is creating a new category called Professional Relationship Management (PRM), which is an offshoot of the CRM system. “Levitate is laser focused on relationship-based businesses like insurance agencies and real estate brokerages that grow mostly through referral and word-of-mouth,” Lipson explains, “Because many traditional CRM systems are built to fit every possible use case, they are complicated and clunky to use if your goal is to just help make sure you can remember key details about contacts in your network and stay top of mind in a really personal, authentic way. Levitate solves the problem problem of keeping in touch better than any system in the market.
This past year, Levitate raised a $6 million round to build out connect with customers and improve the product even more. “We have a product that many businesses need but aren’t even aware that a solution like Levitate exists. We’re focusing most of our funding on spreading the word about Levitate to potential customers and also continuing to make our product better,” says Lipson.
Learning from the Past
HQ may be a little bias, but we are not the only ones who would place a bet on the success of this company. Jes is not a first time founder and his success, leadership, and experience in building culture are already evident in his new company. Jes also looks back on his experience with creating ShareFile to draw some important lessons for the future. “I really loved the culture and core values we created at ShareFile, and three of the four core values at Real Magic are actually identical to the ShareFile core values. Our core values are: Create Magic, Show Customer Empathy, Make Data-Driven Decisions, and Focus on Solutions, Not Problems.” explains Lipson, “Outside of the importance of culture and core values, one of the main lessons for me building ShareFile was how to acquire small business customers efficiently by focusing on specific industry verticals. I think we were some of the best in the world at this at ShareFile and we’ve taken those lessons and applied them to Real Magic / Levitate.”
Despite his success with ShareFile, Jes decided to found this company and we are so glad he did: “I think building a startup is a great way to challenge yourself and grow as a person. Creating something from a blank canvas and scaling it into a large company is one of the hardest (and most fulfilling) things you can do professionally. Plus, I’m too young to retire.”
Over the next year Lipson plans to continue to grow: ” Next year we want to grow to 100 employees and thousands over customers. We may finally get kicked out of HQ because none of the spaces will fit us anymore,” jokes Lipson. Despite this growth, he plans to continue to work in the Raleigh area: “I’ll be in Raleigh for life. I never considered starting the company anywhere else.