Home Check-ins Are Dead? Location App Life360 Adds 1 Million Users in 10 Weeks

Check-ins Are Dead? Location App Life360 Adds 1 Million Users in 10 Weeks

Location-based “check-ins” – are they hot – or not? Two days ago we ran a guest post by Mark Watkins, CEO of mobile startup Goby, who argued that check-in services were unlikely to thrive and that startups had to do something more.

Today, though, family app Life360 announced it just hit 2 million families using its service – 1 million of whom started using the service in the last 10 weeks. How did they do it? They re-imagined the check-in. While other services let users declare what venue they are at but leaving most people wondering why they would want to do so – Life360 offers a clear and simple value proposition. Check-ins on that service send simple GPS co-ordinates from a child to their parents. “I want you to check-in on that app throughout the night so I know where you are and that you’re ok!”

Life360 has been hot for some time – albeit in different ways. The company won Google’s Android Developer challenge in 2008 and raised several millions of dollars from Google, the Facebook Fund, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups, Founders Fund, LaunchCapital, Kapor Capital and others. It’s not the only app like it on the market but it sure is high profile. We first wrote about it in November 2009.

“It’s not as hip as some check-in services,” writes GigaOm’s Ryan Kim, “but its rise shows there’s going to be a sizable market in serving up ‘boring’ utilities to families.”

Chris Hulls, the company’s CEO, says carriers love Life360 too because it helps up-sell families to smart phones and more expensive contracts. “In order to best serve their customers, carriers benefit by working hand-in-hand with application developers,” Hulls wrote in RCRWireless last month. “By doing so, they are giving their customers a key element to long-term satisfaction – enhanced functionality. This puts carriers in a strong position to keep customers happy, and generate more profits.” (We’ve written extensively about the big picture possibilities enabled by carrier collaboration with developers.)

Maybe the check-in isn’t dead after all. Maybe it’s not just coupons that can save it, either. It could just be a healthy dose of re-imagination that’s needed.

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