If you get too distracted to read this story the whole way through, perhaps you should consider joining the millions of people train their brains with Lumosity.
On Thursday, the San Francisco-based maker of brain fitness games and neuroscience research company said that it had grown 150 percent year-over-year to reach more 35 million people worldwide. In January of this year alone, the company said the mobile app was downloaded nearly 50,000 times a day, with its website receiving more than 17 million unique U.S. visitors.
CEO Kunal Sarkar also said the company’s revenue has increased by more than 100 percent each year since its launch and reached $24 million in 2012.
That’s good news for the company, especially considering the more than $70 million Lumosity has raised in the last few years and the millions of dollars spent on marketing, including TV ads.
Created by neuroscientists and launched in 2007, Lumosity offers more than 40 games to members from around the world. People can start playing for free but must pay $80 a year or $15 a month to access most of the content, Its pitch is that by drawing from research from top neuroscientists, Lumosity’s games can help people improve their memory, attention and creativity.
Sarkar attributes much of the company’s growth to its emphasis on making the games interesting to learners of all ages.
While about 75 percent of Lumosity’s users are under the age of 40, he said, “We focused on making the product very appealing so that anyone, starting with a 10-year-old up to my dad [who’s] 72, can use it and feel like it’s relevant to them.”
As consumer appetite for health-related technology and digital content grows, it makes sense that people would be increasingly interested in products that enhance their mental fitness. Companies like Posit Science and Dakim (which targets those over 60) similarly promise brain training programs backed by neuroscience but seem to focus more on therapeutic applications and specific populations. While the brain training field has its skeptics who doubt brain games can improve overall cognitive function, Lumosity and its peers are used by some psychologists to help people diagnosed with cognitive disorders.
Lumosity doesn’t consider itself an education company in the traditional sense. But after noticing that teachers were using the games, the company in 2011 launched the Lumosity Educational Access Program to give teachers who meet a set of criteria access to free subscriptions. In return, the teachers contribute research data that helps explore the games’ effectives in the classroom. More than 12,000 students from 325 schools currently use Lumosity the company said.
Going forward, Sarkar said the company’s focus is on mobile and international expansion. It intends to launch a new app in the U.S. this quarter and, later this year, it plans to release foreign language versions of the app (about a third of Lumosity’s members are already international).