Lithium Raises $50M In Mezzanine Round For Online Community Development Platform

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Lithium has raised $50 million from a group of unnamed investors in what the company is calling pre-IPO mezzanine financing. Lithium will use the funding to further develop its technology platform and expand its sales and marketing. The company has raised a total of $142 million in funding. Lithium executives could not be reached for comment to discuss the funding round.

Constellation Research Founder Ray Wang said to me in an interview today that Lithium technology is primarily designed for sites that are customer-facing, enabling companies to find better ways to engage with their customers. It does this in large part with its data-analytics platform, which provides a combined view of web analytics and community engagement metrics so a company can correlate and drill down to the customers who engage most deeply. This allows a company to monitor top contributors, see what content is performing best and view relationships to the brand in real-time. The company’s customers include AT&T, Telefonica and Home Depot.

He said the company also has a services organization that helps customers build out their online communities. For example, a company may want to integrate a question-and-answer feature that helps their customers get information quicker.

Lithium Chief Scientist Michael Wu said to me in an interview earlier this year that Lithium uses gamification technology to keep people engaged. Wu said competing platform providers will often use badges, points and leader boards to engage customers. Lithium uses tools with longer reinforcement timescales that take longer to work, but have more lasting effects.

Lithium competes with companies such as Get Satisfaction and Bazaarvoice. Its challenge, as it is for most competitors in the space, centers on building out a mature mobile platform and extending its developer community.