Lithium Technologies extends pre-IPO life

September 3, 2013: 12:00 PM ET

Social customer experience company still plans to go public. Later.


FORTUNE -- Lithium Technologies, a provider of social customer experience solutions for the enterprise, has raised $50 million in what it refers to as a "pre-IPO mezzanine financing."

If that sounds kind of familiar, it may be because Lithium also said that its prior funding round -- $53 million in January 2012 -- was "pre-IPO."

So what gives?

Lithium CEO Rob Tarkoff explains that the company wasn't in need of new capital, but chose to take it after being approached by some "large public institutional buyers" who were willing to invest at "an IPO valuation."He adds that Lithium views an IPO as a financing event, and is in no hurry to deal with the quarterly bother of being publicly-held.

"We're of the size and scale that we could go public next year if we want to, but there also is value in getting to grow while remaining private," Tarkoff says. "Like what we've seen Twitter do."

Tarkoff declined to comment on what valuation the company received, or to identify any of the new investors. Return backers include VC firm New Enterprise Associates. All of the money is primary capital (i.e., no earlier shareholders bought out).

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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