Tile popularized marking items and tracking them from your phone with its small Bluetooth tags, but is suddenly facing more competition from giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Samsung. Now the company that started out of an incubator and crowdfunding campaign has announced it will be acquired by Life360, which calls itself a “leading family safety platform.” The deal is valued at $205 million and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.
Tile has developed its product line over the years with a variety of different trackers, as well as partnerships with other companies to use its technology. However, the game may have changed once Apple and Google started building their own item-locating features into iPhones and Android devices.
Apple launched the $29 AirTag earlier this year that also uses Bluetooth for tracking, and enjoys deep integration with the iOS platform that Tile just doesn’t have, and there are indications Google won’t be left behind.
Tile recently announced its first ultra-wideband enabled tracker, the Tile Ultra, which will launch next year and has the advantage of working with both mobile platforms to provide much more precise tracking. Still, as Tile vice president and general counsel Kirsten Daru said to Congress last year in reference to Apple, “You might be the best soccer team, but you’re playing against a team that owns the stadium, the ball, and the league, and can change the rules when it wants.”