SAP Ventures has joined in a $53.4 million round led by New Enterprise Associates in Lithium Technologies, Inc., a vendor of enterprise-oriented social media software.
Lithium is a close competitor to Jive Software, which last month raised $161 million in an IPO. SAP has worked closely with Jive, and late last year before Jive filed for its IPO it was rumored that SAP might soon acquire it . SAP Ventures was not, however, an investor in Jive, according to available information. There was some discussion that Jive-related issues (instability due to a version change) might have contributed to the delay announced last month in rolling out the new SAP Community Network.
Last month SAP announced a relationship with NetBase to resell its social media analytics tool to its customers. SAP Ventures had also been an investor in LinkedIn prior to its IPO and SAP had integrated LinkedIn capabilities into the SAP Community Network.
Its seems clear that SAP is spreading its bets in terms of its social networking strategy. Whether and when it will make a major acquisition in this space, or if it will just continue to rely on partnerships, remains to be seen.
The Series D round also included all previous participating investors, including Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Emergence Capital, Greenspring Associates, Shasta Ventures and Tenaya Capital. Lithium is based in Emeryville, CA.