Lyle Fong: From bootstrapped to VC-backed

Bambi Francisco Roizen · January 24, 2011 · Short URL:

Lithium Technologies waited six years before getting venture financing

Some of the smartest entrepreneurs bootstrap their business before heading to Silicon Valley to raise funds. Lithium Technologies, which started in 2001, is such a company, having waited until 2007 to get its first infusion of venture financing. In total, the company has raised some $45 million. Its last valuation was $200 million. Watch Lyle Fong, founder and CEO, talk about why he waited until the timing was right, from a market-raising and market perspective. And, hear how Lithium originated from a consumer-facing gaming company to a social-media software company that allows corporations to engage their customers. As for big expensive mistakes, Lyle said he made more at his previous company when the money raised was spent foolishly, like the time his company threw a party at the Playboy Mansion.

As for the three pieces of advice to entrepreneurs:

Be flexible and allow your idea to evolve.

Be passionate about what you're doing or someone with more passion will likely succeed over you.

Constantly hire people smarter than you.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Lithium Technologies


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Your customers are everywhere. Lithium helps you find your social customers, understand their influence, and build lasting relationships. For market leaders such as Best Buy, AT&T, Research In Motion Limited (RIM), Univision, and PayPal, Lithium is the leading provider of social customer solutions that deliver real business results. The Lithium Social Customer Suite offers complete social monitoring, a comprehensive community platform, and actionable analytics across millions of blogs, forums, and social networking sites. Our technology is proven in high-volume, growth environments and provides security, open and custom APIs, and multi-language support. Founded in 2001, Lithium is privately held with headquarters in Emeryville, California. For more information, visit Or, engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our community – the Lithosphere.


Lyle Fong

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Lyle is the co-founder and CEO of a stealth mobile gaming company. Prior, Lyle also co-founded Lithium and