The news was first reported yesterday in TechCrunch, prior to any official announcement. Chief executive and cofounder Lyle Fong confirmed the acquisition to VentureBeat today, and also said that the rumored price of $20-25 million is correct.
Lithium builds customer communities for businesses like Barnes & Noble and Lenovo, but Fong said companies are increasingly interested in monitoring what customers are saying on social services like Twitter. So Emeryville, Calif.-based Lithium went looking for a social media monitoring service. It settled on Scout Labs, Fong said, because the two companies shared a philosophy that these tools shouldn’t just be used by marketing and customer service teams: “Every person in the company should be closer to the customer.”
Lithium will continue selling Scout Labs’ products but will also be looking into ways to integrate the services.
Scout Labs raised more than $4 million from Minor Ventures, El Dorado Venture Partners, and Javelin Ventures. Lithium has raised $44 million, with a recent valuation, according to Fong, of $160 million. The company is open to more acquisitions
“There’s always something new [on the] horizon with the social web,” Fong said. “As new technologies pop up, we’ll have to decide whether we should buy it or build it. For now, I think we have our hands full.”