Tile first arrived by a crowdfunding campaign and popularized the idea of using tags to locate lost items — but recently, it has faced formidable competition from the likes of Apple's AirTags. Now, Tile has been acquired family tracking company Life360 for $205 million in a move that could give it the resources to better contend with rivals. It will continue to operate with the same branding under current Tile CEO CJ Prober, Life360 announced.
Life360 said the acquisition will help it expand beyond family tracking to letting people "locate the people, pets, and things they love." It noted that the addition of Life360's 33 million smartphone users will increase the reach of Tile's Finding Network by around 10x.
At the same time, Life360 will gain access to consumers in 27,000 retail stores where Tile trackers are sold. Tile's technology is also used in over a million third-party devices, ranging from wireless earphones to dog collars. The company will also acquire Tile's subscribers, boosting its total paid subscriber base by 45 percent to 1.6 million users.
The company emphasized that both Life360 and Tile are "platform agnostic," working on both iOS and Android. The subtext is that Apple's AirTags only work on iOS, though Apple does have plans to introduce Android compatibility by year's end. Last year, Tile filed an EU complaint against Apple for alleged anticompetitive behavior, claiming the iOS 13.5 update made its app harder to use.
There's certainly synergy between the companies, as Life360 has operated as a multi-platform 'Find My Friends'-style service for years. Parents in the US, especially, have used the devices to keep track of their kids — so adding the ability to track objects and gadgets makes a lot of sense.