Lumosity raises $31.5M for online cognitive exercises

The games are fun to play, but they also get serious results

Financial trends and news by Faith Merino
August 22, 2012
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When we last covered Lumosity, the brain training startup had just raised an impressive $32.5 million Series C round.  It seemed like a lot for some fun little memorization games.  But while the games are fun and simple on the surface, there’s a complex underbelly of science and research that goes into each one.  And the games get results!  That’s probably why Lumosity is announcing yet another big round of funding today.  The company announced Wednesday that it has raised $31.5 million in a Series D round led by Discovery Communications, with help from existing investors FirstMark Capital, Harrison Metal, Menlo Ventures, and Norwest Venture Partners.  The new capital brings Lumosity’s total raised to over $70 million.

To recap, Lumosity creates online games that are designed to enhance cognitive function, so there are games for memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem solving.  The company has its roots in scientific research. Co-founder Mike Scanlon was a neuroscience grad student at Stanford when he told Kunal Sarkar, then an investor in health and wellness businesses, about studies showing that the human brain is plastic and can be trained to improve its core cognitive abilities. And Lumosity was born.

Launched in 2007, Lumosity now has more than 40 games, which are based on the latest discoveries in neuroscience, such as third-party studies being conducted at Stanford, Harvard, UC Berkeley, and other academic institutions.

The games get real results—and not just the anecdotal kind.  On average, users are seeing a 10% improvement in working memory and more than 20% improvement in divided attention after ten hours of training with Lumosity.

With real results like that, it’s no wonder the company’s subscriber base is growing.  Lumosity generates revenue by charging users directly.  You can sign up and get a free three-day trial, and if you like what you see, you can upgrade to a paid membership.  In the past year, Lumosity has doubled its subscribers to 25 million and revenues are growing 20%-25% each quarter.  The mobile app has been downloaded over 10 million times and is the top app in the education category in the App Store.

Additionally, the company has begun working directly with K-12 schools through the Lumosity Education Access Program (LEAP), which provides educators with Lumosity memberships for their students.  Educators can apply for up to 50 six-month memberships for students in third through twelfth grade to use in-class.  Teachers provide feedback to Lumosity on the games’ effectiveness with their students, and Lumosity, in turn, incorporates that feedback into its games.  LEAP applications have nearly tripled from semester to semester and has served some 500 schools around the world.

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