Life360 Secures New Investment Round from BMW i Ventures

Life360 will bring more families closer through their popular family location app, with the help of BMW i Ventures’ recent funding to the company. BMW i Ventures is BMW’s venture capital arm, and Life360 is their fifth strategic investment.

The company’s CEO Chris Hulls tells us more about this recent funding in an e-interview with Lead411:

Who are your competitors and how are you different from them?

In terms of family network apps, there are no serious direct competitors. At 32 million users and counting, we are far and away the leader in this category. Each carrier (Sprint, Verizon, etc) does offer a family tracker product, but they are all paid products — our basic service will always be free — and they are very poorly reviewed by users.

What percentage of your marketing budget are spent on the following?

We do not spend money in any of the categories that you outlined, except for PR, where we have a very small monthly retainer. Our growth has been 100% organic, through app store optimization (all handled internally) and word of mouth. Eighty percent of our users have recommended the app to a friend, which is key to our growth.

What marketing tactic has given you the highest ROI? What percentage ROI do you get back on this?

In our case, the investment is time and not money, and the biggest payoff has been in truly understanding how to optimize in the app stores. We figured out how to do this very early on, which jumpstarted our growth. Our continued focus in this area has kept us at the top of the search results for every keyword that matters, and we know that on Android especially users are searching for apps like ours more than they are relying on recommended lists.

What do you plan to spend your new funding on? Product development? Marketing?

The majority of our new funding — in this case, a strategic investment from BMW — will be spent on continuing to build a great product.

If this is your first round of financing and you’re the CEO, how many hours did you put into working on getting your financing? Was that taking up the most of your day?

Again, our latest funding was a small strategic investment from BMW i Ventures, so it’s not quite the same grind of raising a larger round. We have already raised both a seed and Series A round of financing.

If you are the CEO, what are your biggest challenges?

Recruiting. Getting the absolute best people is very hard, and it’s easy to lower your standards. It’s better to go without, than to hire someone who is a bad fit for the team.

How many employees do you have?

We have 27 employees based in San Francisco.

When were you founded?

Life360 was founded with a grant from Google in 2008, and launched in 2009.

How much did you revenue increase(if any) this year over last year?

To date, we have focused on honing our product and getting to scale, not on monetization. It is only in the last month that we have launched Life360 Premium, which is looking very promising! It’s too soon to share projections, however.

Want to know more about this recent funding? You can check on their news release here.

About Christine Guinto

Christine Guinto is our part-time writer for the Lead411 Blog. She specializes in our funding news. You can contact her at christine [at] Christine Amos on Google+!