Just as its name implies, Levitate just keeps rising and rising.
The Raleigh-based startup led by serial entrepreneur and renowned Oak City cheerleader Jes Lipson announced today the closing of an oversubscribed $13.75M Series C funding round. That brings Levitate’s total funding since launching in 2018 to nearly $40M.
The round was led by Durham-based Bull City Venture Partners and includes participation from California-based Tippet Venture Partners, Florida-based Protagonist and the Triangle Tweener Fund, but more than half of it came from 60+ fellow entrepreneurs. That list features some names very familiar to GrepBeat readers like GrepBeat Godfather Joe Colopy, Chaz Felix, Anil Chawla, Ray Carey, Jed Carlson and Jud Bowman. (Those are all links to GrepBeat stories.)
Levitate is also announcing the release of its AI Assistant tool. The AI Assistant will help customers write, reword and edit emails and social media posts—and even translate content into 10 languages for countries with multi-lingual client bases.
It’s all part of Levitate’s SaaS “Happiness Platform” that helps customers in relationship-focused fields like insurance agents, law firms, financial planners and accountants keep in touch with clients and find new ones by staying top-of-mind with personalized communications and outreach.
Lipson is especially excited about the AI initiative.
“When I founded the company, I called it Levitate.ai,” Lipson said. “We always wanted to use AI to scale authentic outreach, but the technology wasn’t really there at that time.”
That has changed, of course. Levitate uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT “under the hood,” as Lipson puts it, as a way to enhance and maximize the content library that Levitate offers to its customers.
For instance, this week Levitate put together a piece of content on the recent struggles of First Republic Bank. Using the AI Assistant, customers can automatically re-write that content to fit their unique voice, whether it’s humorous or formal, short bullet-pointed content or longer pieces, or anything in between.
While the funding will be ticketed in part for the roll-out and further development of AI Assistant, it will also fuel Levitate’s general growth, which is coming in multiple directions.
On the product side, Levitate started by helping its customers write emails. Now it offers texts and social media content in addition to emails. Later this year it will expand into the physical realm with handwritten notes and gifts.
Levitate recently rolled out to nonprofits as a new industry vertical. It’s a good fit for Levitate because nonprofits need to keep in touch with existing and potential donors in a way that’s more relationship-based than transactional.
Lipson envisions adding still more target industries as Levitate grows. Some potential examples are hotels/hospitality or retail.
“Every business has some segment that calls for a more personal touch,” he said, “whether it’s for your top customers or best sources of referrals.”
Levitate is also steadily growing its employee base from its current 150, about 95% of whom are based in Raleigh. The startup will be looking to hire across the board from sales to customer success to engineering.
For this current financing round, Levitate originally set out to raise about $10M. When it had even more interest than it expected from its significant cohort of individual entrepreneurs who have been investors from the start, it decided to expand the round.
That list of 60+ included 10 former and current Citrix executives, such as former Citrix CEO Mark Templeton. Citrix acquired Lipson’s previous startup, ShareFile, and he stayed on with Citrix for another five-plus years and helped it become a major presence in downtown Raleigh.