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Life360, a mobile family safety app that we’ve followed, has been on a tear and is now up to 10 million users. That growth has helped the San Francisco location start-up pull in a $3.5 million Series A round from Fontinalis Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, 500 Startups, Kapor Capital, Venture51, Bullpen Capital, Social Leverage and EchoVC Partners, as well as existing investors. The latest investment brings the company’s total funding to $5 million.
Life360 has become one of the leaders in the mobile family safety market with a simple utility app that helps families members stay in touch and allows parents to get information on the whereabouts of their kids. In the last year, it’s installed base has grown from 300,000 families to more than 5 million families using Life360 on their iOS (s aapl) and Android (s goog) devices.
The mobile application will continue to be at the core of Life360’s business. But the investment by Fontinalis Partners shows where the company is headed. Fontinalis was founded by William Clay Ford Jr., the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company (s f). The investment is further sign that Life360 will extend its reach into the automotive segment, part of a larger expansion that I’ve talked about with Life360 CEO and founder Chris Hulls. He told me last month that Life360 wants to create more revenue opportunities by pursuing deals with third-party product makers and integrating with home control systems and car-tracking services.
“Our mission of allowing families to live confidently extends far beyond the smartphone into many aspects of daily household life,” Hulls said in a statement. “With our significant scale and strong investor support, we will become the central app that families use to stay safe and connected. We plan on building new features like vehicle tracking and home monitoring – all controlled from your mobile phone without the need for any new hardware.”
Life360 has ridden the wave of smartphones and has become a trusted tool for a lot of families, who outfit their kids with iPhones and Android devices. The rise of Life360 highlights the growing opportunity in creating utility apps that go beyond games and entertainment and speak to more basic needs of mobile users. It’s not clear if Life360 can extend its brand into comprehensive family safety but with 10 million users and new money, it’s off to a great start.