Life360 Adds Strategic Investment From BMW iVentures To Use Family Location Tech For Connected Cars

BetaKit last covered family communication and location-finder app Life360 when it surpassed 25 million users and released geo-fencing capabilities and crime data integration. Today the startup announced that it received strategic and long-term investment of an undisclosed amount from BMW iVentures, the venture capital arm of BMW Group, to integrate its technology into the car manufacturer’s connected vehicles.

Chris Hulls, co-founder and CEO of the company spoke with BetaKit to explain the move and how it fits into the startup’s long-term vision. “A lot of people might scratch their head and ask why BMW is investing in an app that does family location sharing. But what’s happening with cars and connected devices in general is they’re really looking for ways to leverage the data you get for mobile,” said Hulls in an interview. “One thing car companies have found is that people don’t really care about checking Facebook from their cars…they’ve realized they really need killer apps that actually can leverage their car platform that really makes sense in an automotive setting.”

There’s a number of ways the two companies envision how Life360’s technology can be integrated. One being the ability to seamlessly navigate and drive to a family member. Hulls explained it as users being able to see a portrait of a family member of the dashboard and instead of having to call them, note down the address, then punch it into the GPS, Life360’s technology can remove nearly all of the friction of the process and make it a one-touch experience.

That’s just the beginning though according to Hull, he said Life360 sees a lot of opportunity in other industries as well. It’s currently in talks with potential partners in the home security space, where he said the number one reason people cancel is that people forget to arm the systems when they leave their homes. With Life360 they’d be able to arm the system automatically as soon as everyone is out of the house. Other avenues include energy conservation by being able to automatically turn of heating and lighting systems.

“People think of us as [only] a family tracking app and I think its an assumption that I think is completely wrong because there is so much you can do when you have family location data,” Hulls added. “Its not about stalking people, not about keeping tabs on people, its really about using that data to make life more smoother and convenient. There are all these use cases that aren’t immediately obvious when people think well why I would have an app that shares my family location on my phone.”

Other trends in connected cars that we’ve covered here at BetaKit include the launch of Carvoyant’s device that helps turns any car into a connected one while being able access a budding eco-system of third-party apps. Whereas the move for Life360 helps it effectively differentiate itself further from other apps targeting family safety and emergency services like Location Labs, EmergencyLink, and Perch.

Hulls also noted that Life360 has now officially passed the 30 million users mark and is currently testing in beta a more premium version of its app as another avenue for revenue in addition to charging for non-smartphones to access the service. It is also in the process of raising a Series B round which it will look to announce later in the year. With the strategic investment and alignment with the luxury automaker, Life360 is out to prove that it can adapt to be integrated in a number of verticals so as to defy being categorized as a stand-alone location-based app.


Humayun Khan

Humayun Khan is a Senior Writer and Analyst at BetaKit. A marketing graduate with honors, Humayun's work experience spans the fields of consumer behaviour with noted contributions in an academic paper published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology and market research consulting having coordinated projects for a major financial services client at Decode Inc. More recently he was involved in business strategy as a Business Analyst for an equipment rental outlet and prior in the National Marketing Department at Ernst & Young LLP. He is passionate about emerging and disrupting technology and its ability to transform and create entirely new industries.

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