Lithium Technologies, an Emeryville, Calif. company that sells software to companies to help them build online communities with their customers, said it has raised $9 million in a first round of financing.

The six-year-old company has been bootstrapping until now, and has won customers like Cingular, Comcast, and Dell.

The round was co-led by Shasta Ventures and Emergence Capital Partners. Ravi Mohan, of Shasta Ventures, and Gordon Ritter, of Emergence Capital Partners join the company’s board.

Among Lithium’s community offerings are forums, social networking and chat.

A report by VentureWire says the company’s post-money valuation is $23 million.