Life360, the mobile application designed for families, announced today that it has acquired the private messaging application and Y Combinator grad Couple (formerly known as Pair), based in Mountain View. Not a pure talent acquisition, Life360 sees Couple as being a potential initial entry point into its larger platform, which now counts over 55 million families using its location tracker and family communications app.
Explains the company, Couple – at least for now – will continue to operate as a distinct app, and its team will build a migration path between Couple and Life360 for those couples who have children and are ready to move to a “Family Network” app.
In addition, Couple’s co-founders Oleg Kostour, CEO; Jake Schwartz, lead engineer; and Andrew Jasso, lead designer, have joined Life360’s team as a part of the acquisition. There were no other full-time members.
Deal terms were not immediately available, but Couple was backed by Y Combinator, SV Angel, CrunchFund, Ashton Kutcher’s A-Grade Investments, Dave Morin, Founder Collective, Lerer Ventures, Betaworks, Michael Birch, Paul Buchheit, Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, Gary Vaynerchuk and other strategic angel investors. According to CrunchBase, Couple had raised $4.2 million from outside investors. (CrunchFund’s founder also founded TechCrunch, by way of disclosure.)
We understand the acquisition was a mix of cash and stock for both the team and assets.
Couple was built to be a private messaging app for the use between two people. First launched in 2012, the app has seen over 4 million downloads to date as well as billions of messages sent between users. The app also includes a number of fun features, including support for emoticons, photo and video sharing, sketching, as well as more practical ones, like a shared list and calendar, reminders, date night suggestions and more. There’s also a cute “thumbkiss” feature that lets you tell your partner you’re thinking of them when you’re apart.
It makes sense that the kind of people who would want a dedicated portal for a certain kind of private communication outside of text messages could be the ideal user base to eventually join Life360, which offers much of the same kind of thing, but for families.
This is what Couple’s CEO Kostour also believes, noting that Life360’s focus on users with “high-trust” relationships makes the app a “perfect fit” to join the larger company.
Adds Alex Haro, co-founder/President of Life360, “the fit between the team is amazing! Both Life360 and Couple were built on a foundation of putting user experience first and building an intimate relationship for users. We share the same values and approach to making our user’s lives better.”
However, betting on the chance that the millions of downloads for Couple will eventually translate into converts to Life360 is sort of a risk – Couple today is ranked No. 164 in the “Lifestyle” section on iTunes – a not-so-stellar ranking in terms of having carved out a significant niche for itself in the crowded mobile messaging space. That doesn’t bode well for Life360 keeping Couple’s doors open indefinitely, either.
To some extent, Couple was likely impacted by the rise of other dominant mobile messaging services, like Messenger, Whatsapp or Snapchat, for example, as have a number of other niche players.
“We are excited to have Couple join the Life360 family,” said Itamar Novick, Chief Business Officer of Life360, in a statement.
“We share a mission to better connect people with their loved ones. The team at Couple has built a great product loved by millions of highly engaged users. This acquisition represents a strategic alignment of our audiences as couples make up a significant percentage of our user base at Life360,” he added.
This is not Life360’s first acquisition. The San Francisco-headquartered company, which has raised $76 million in venture funding to date, previously bought Foundog in 2010, HelloWorld in 2014, and Chronos Mobile Technologies just last year. The focus is usually on talent, and incorporating ideas from the acquired companies into the main Life360 app, at times.
Couple, then known as Pair, had also picked up an app of its own in the past. The company, Tenthbit which makes the Couple app, actually bought its UK rival Cupple back in 2013.