Location-sharing Stanford startup HelloWorld acquired by Life360

Oct. 26, 2014, 10:00 p.m.

HelloWorld, a location-sharing app created by a Stanford hackathon team, has been acquired by Life 360 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

HelloWorld (as we reported a few months ago here) was founded by Ernestine Fu ’13, Michael Carter, Max Goodman, Jeff Himmelman and David Li ’10. A hackathon project coded over a few hours in August at YCombinator’s YCHacks, the product was a mobile app for iOS and Android that allowed users to make text and photo location-based updates.

These updates let friends know what you’ve been up to and where you’ve been, without revealing your exact location. Instead, friends could only see how far away you are. Users could also ping each other to let them know they’re nearby. Posts were ephemeral and lasted only 24 hours, encouraging users to be open about sharing their location.

Following the acquisition of HelloWorld, Stanford student and founder Ernestine Fu will lead a new “Special Projects” division at Life360. As it stands, Life360 is a messaging and location-sharing mobile app primarily focused at connecting families as well as close friends, and it has raised $76.1 million in funding to date. Additionally, Life360 has over 100 million users.

Though offered funding from various angels and VCs early in the development of the startup’s app, HelloWorld turned down those initial offers. However, talks with one interested angel, Life360 co-founder and president Alex Haro, progressed into an acquisition opportunity as it became evident that the HelloWorld product and team would mesh well with Life360’s larger user base. Three of HelloWorld’s other four founders will join Life360 in different roles, while one will take an advisory role as he continues work on a separate startup.

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