Tile popularized tagging items and tracking them from your phone with its little Bluetooth beacons, but suddenly faces increased competition from giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung. The company which started from an incubator and a crowdfunding campaign has announced that it will be taken over by Life360, which calls itself “the leading family safety platform.” The deal is valued at $ 205 million and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2022.
Tile has grown its product line over the years with a variety of different trackers and partnerships with other companies to use its technology. It also has a subscription service, Tile Premium, with additional features, battery replacements, and insurance against potential losses. However, the game may have changed once Apple and Google started building their own object tracking features in iPhones and Android devices.
Life360 is presented as a comprehensive family safety application, with location sharing between family members, collision detection and other features. Over the summer, it announced it has over a million paying customers and said its valuation has exceeded $ 1 billion. He also acquired another item locating hardware startup, Jiobit, which makes cell-connected trackers for children and pets.
Life360 expects the deal to increase the global footprint of both companies, Tile’s non-Bluetooth search network, and create a larger combined subscriber base. Currently listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, Life360 says it is considering a “potential double listing in the US” next year.
In a blog post announcing the Tile acquisition, Life360 CEO and Co-Founder Chris Hulls said, “The combination of Life360 and Tile means that security has become much easier for millions of families and consumers. individuals around the world. We will bundle Tile devices as part of our membership plans, and Tile will offer the benefits of Life360 membership to its customers. We will also start working on integrating our technologies so that Tile devices, Jiobit wearable devices, and Life360 app clients appear on a unified map – people, pets and things in one place. .
Apple launched the $ 29 AirTag earlier this year which also uses Bluetooth for tracking, but adds precise Ultra Wideband technology and deep integration with the iOS platform that Tile just doesn’t have. And there are indications that Google will not be left behind. Samsung has launched its own handheld Bluetooth trackers, and Amazon is relying on Echo devices to enable tracking through the Sidewalk network (Tile announced a partnership with Amazon that began in June).
Tile recently announced its first ultra-wideband tracker, the Tile Ultra, which will launch next year and has the benefit of working with both mobile platforms to provide much more accurate tracking. Yet, as Kirsten Daru, vice president and general counsel for Tile, told Congress last year of Apple: “You may be the best football team, but you play against a team that owns the stadium, the ball and the league, and can change the rules whenever he wants.
Hulls takes a more optimistic view of this reality, as described in his blog post, pointing out that Apple’s introduction of AirPods has broadened the market for all Bluetooth headsets far more than a single pioneer like Jawbone could.
Tile says it will continue to operate as an independent entity with the same team, led by current CEO CJ Prober. Prober will join the Board of Directors of Life360 and states in the announcement: “This acquisition not only brings together two incredible teams with complementary missions and values, it paves the way for us to jointly create the best solutions in the world for the peace of mind of spirit and security. “