E093: with Chris Hulls, founder of Life360



about this episode

Jason interviews Life360 Founder Chris Hulls about their web and mobile safety startup. Thomas asks Jason for advice on re-discovering his passion for business, and guest reader Mark Thompson brings us the news.  For more information, show notes and an upcoming schedule, go to http://thisweekin.com

Today Chris Hulls from Life 360 joins us. We are going to give advice to an entrepreneur who has lost his passion. And Mark Thompson, a bone-fide newscaster, will be reading the news.

Jason and Tyler discuss making the Open Angel Forum a little more open by adding an after-party.

Welcome SendGrid! SendGrid is a new advertiser that specializes in transactional email delivery.

SendGrid is hiring. Go check out their offering. Thank @sendgrid for supporting TWiST.


Chris Hulls of Life360

Life360 is a mobile company that is trying to turn your mobile phone into a family safety device.

Chris spends a few minutes describing the Life360 offering.

Jason and Chris discuss the use cases for families and how to overcome some of the resistance from kids.

Chris describes the motivation for Life360 and how they got started. He discusses the pivot to ‘child safety’.

Chris discusses winning an Android Google challenge which got them money an exposure.

Jason asks about team building, founders, equity and building the company. Chris describes the challenges for Life360.

Jason and Chris discuss the deal terms of on-boarding early employees and how they enticed great employees. Chris suggests making the terms very clear up front.

@ramvas what did you have to get up as pay to get a technical co-founder? Chris describes his strategy for on-boarding his technical co-founder. He gave up 50% because he realized the importance of the position.

Chris discusses the status of the company now. He decided NOT to go to Harvard Business School to do the startup. He discusses the value of the startup process.

Chris discusses the status of the financing. 3M series A. Dave McClure among the investors.

Jason asks about the technology that drive location-based services, including a GPS location device that isn’t a phone. He discusses using the location with a car (by hooking it into the battery). Chris discusses a cattle-thief brought to justice using the Life360 technology.

Chris discusses the current user base and the expected growth this year.

Jason and Chris discuss the marketing and pricing model for Life360 and business cost to run the business.

@ramvas How are you handling distribution and marketing? Chris describes the Life360 strategy around mobile and web.

@jcpausner How do you keep data safe on the backend. Is the data encrypted at rest? Chris describes the strategy of keeping data safe.

Jason asks what the most valuable thing Chris has learned as an entrepreneur. Chris discusses his thoughts. Jason asks ‘what did you suck at?’ Chris discusses the learning about more != better. Quality over quantity. Culture is paramount. Hire slow and fire fast.

Follow @life360 on Twitter

Contact Chris@life360.com if you’re interested in working for Life360.

Ask Jason
Thomas Diehl (from Germany)

Thomas has a small consulting service and his company is running smoothly, but he’s lost his passion for innovation/product development. Thomas asks how he can get his passion back.

Jason discusses the reality of getting beaten down and discusses his strategies for getting re-energized. He suggests it may be time to try something new and different. Spend some time with friends and try new experiences to get re-motivated. Jason prescribes Black Hawk Down and Gladiator (Director’s Cut).

Tyler agrees with Jason’s thoughts. He adds that a lot of the successful CEOs run. He thinks this is because this clears your head and allows for more meditation.

Mark Thompson

Windows Phone 7 OS is out. Is this a tough area to get into unless your a big company?

Jason discusses the challenges of the mobile space. Apple and Google are the best in the space, but Windows Mobile has a shot.

Insight from Tyler: It feels like a dentist with a candy jar. You wouldn’t expect Microsoft (dentist) to have something delicious like some candy (Windows mobile).


Google is giving away free WiFi on the airplanes during the holidays.

Jason jumps in and says that he hates this because of the bandwidth consumption slow his usage, which he pays for.


Are you familiar with Virtual Eternity? It’s a AI based animated avatar, which is what is left for your posterity after your dead. What are your thoughts on this?

Jason thinks it’s creepy. It’s a gimmick. Jason tells a story about stumbling across the Friendster page from a deceased friend. Digital Ghost is the term he uses.


Facebook – Google pissing match regarding data. Google shuts down Facebook from pulling friends from Gmail. Google has restricted Facebook from doing this. Why?

Jason discusses the dynamics of the relationship between Google and Facebook. Facebook is not allowing other companies to get their data. Jason agrees with Google on this point.

Tyler describes this as the beginning of a cold war.

The problem with poor security on Facebook and Twitter are discussed.


GroupMe is raising money at a valuation of 30M. There’s a bidding war between VCs. Educate me.

Jason discusses the situation. He discusses the situation being like a great poker hand with multiple outs.

Jason discusses an earlier company that does the same thing, but at the wrong time.

Jason also discusses the ‘also-ran’ or ‘Me too’ companies that will get funding because of the success of GroupMe.

Tyler discusses that this is very Japanese in that they have had private social networks for a long time.

Thanks to SendGrid and StormOnDemand. Look for a bonus episode with Tony Hsieh from Zappos which should be up this week.

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