Jesse Lipson, founder of ShareFile, delivers remarks on the first day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photography by Alex Wong — Getty Images
By Ellen McGirt
July 27, 2016

“Where’s this losing country he keeps talking about?”

In a four-minute speech on Monday night’s Democratic National Convention, North Carolina entrepreneur Jesse Lipson made the business case for inclusion and dropped it at the feet of the Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

“It’s clear you don’t understand something simple about business,” he said, speaking directly to Trump. “Nothing scares away investment like hate.”

Lipson spoke during a little-covered segment of the DNC called “Ensuring Equality,” joining a growing chorus of entrepreneurs, investors and executives who have denounced North Carolina’s House Bill 2 (HB2), the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which, among other things, legislates that people may only use restrooms that correspond with to the sex listed on their birth certificates.

An open letter signed by more than 180 chief executives, including Marc Benioff from Salesforce, Ursula Burns from Xerox and Safra Catz from Oracle, was equally direct: “The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”

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Lipson is not a bold-faced tech name, yet he deserves to be, at least if you’re willing to believe that you don’t have to be a billion-dollar unicorn to be business success story. He taught himself to code. He started his company, ShareFile, a secure file sharing system, on a shoestring. His company was acquired by Citrix in 2011. And he’s created some 800 jobs.

“Disgusting laws like North Carolina’s attack on LGBT Americans are costing my state hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s cost us the NBA All-Star Game, and it’s costing us talented programmers who are ready to build the future.”

He described North Carolina as an innovation hub where net new jobs came from start-ups.

“Republicans may think they’re telling people which bathroom to go into, but they’re actually telling people which market to stay out of,” he said.

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