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Chevy Chase-Based NEA Leads New $50 Million Round for Lithium

New Enterprise Associates (NEA), the Chevy Chase-based venture capital firm, has led a new $50 million round of funding for San Francisco-based Lithium Technologies, a developer of software that lets businesses create their own social networks and online communities. A syndicate of institutional investors also took part in the round, which the company indicated could be a prelude to a possible initial public offering (IPO). Lithium, in fact, called the round a "pre-IPO mezzanine" round. "We can grow aggressively without distraction while we consider the right timing for a public market offering," said CEO Rob Tarkoff. Lithium also named former Yahoo executive Tapan Bhat as its senior vice president and chief product officer, and appointed Brooke Seawell, a venture partner at NEA, to its board of directors as audit committee chairman.

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