When you’re part of a large family, group text messaging can seriously ruin your day. If someone in my family decides to text all 10 of my siblings and me, that’s it—the day’s over. I can pretty much expect to spend all damn day getting buzzed on my phone and checking it, thinking it might be something important from my husband or boss—but nope! It’s a picture of my two-year-old nephew smearing Vaseline in his hair! And all of my siblings have to make jokes, and then respond to each other’s jokes with more jokes, and I’m like, “guys! F*ck off, I’m working!”
But that only makes things worse.
A more organized family communication system is definitely in order. Maybe an opt-in communication system? Like Life360? The company announced Wednesday that it has raised $10 million in a Series B round led by DCM, with participation from existing investors. The new round of capital brings Life360’s total raised to date to $20 million.
“The space is getting intensely competitive, and things like the Waze acquisition are making people see the potential in location. We think this will be a winner take all vertical, and we need expansion capital to do this,” said CEO Chris Hulls.
With more than 40 million users worldwide, Life360 launched a Premium service this year, which users can get for $4.99 a month of $50 a year. The Premium service comes with a 24/7 Live Advisor, roadside assistance, unlimited use of Places, expanded location history, $100 in stolen phone protection, and location lookups for non-smartphones.
The basic service alone is pretty awesome. Hulls tells me that the most common use case for Life360 is as a replacement for the annoying “where are you?” texts. Families can use the app to quickly and easily locate wandering children, receive alerts when a family member reaches her or his destination, and open a chat on the secure FamilyChannel. In the event of an emergency, the app comes with a Panic Alert that allows you to send a voicemail, email, and notification to everyone in your family.
Earlier this year, Life360 introduced its geo-fencing feature "Places," which allows users to identify their favorite places and receive alerts when family members arrive.
Personally, I really like the idea of using Life360 as a sort of high-tech tracking device for my kid. All I need to do is slip a phone into his backpack (or surgically implant one in his spinal column?) and I can see where he is at all times.
"Life360 has delivered the most compelling family-oriented platform on mobile," said Jason Krikorian, general partner at DCM Ventures, in a statement. "Its location and communication-based foundation holds tremendous promise in extending and integrating into other areas of everyday life for families. We look forward to partnering with Life360 to drive global expansion and continued growth."
The company raised $3.5 million in a Series A round in late 2011 from Fontinalis Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Kapor Capital, Venture51, Bullpen Capital, Social Leverage, EchoVC Partners, and others. Life360 plans to use the capital from this round to fund product enhancements, distribution and localization of the app for international markets, and product integration with partners in the home security and automotive sectors.