Brain+ wants to dethrone the smartest kid on the block. The Copenhagen-based maker of brain-training games is expanding to the U.S. in hopes of unseating Lumosity, which has had more than 60 million registered users for its games that help people exercise their minds.
The company aims to create a mobile app that provides scientifically proven, effective, and engaging brain-training exercises that adapt to the needs of individuals. Of course, Lumosity is doing much the same and it has a massive head start. Brain+ is now competing with Lumosity in its home territory of North America.
The startup came from a book. In May 2011, Brain+ cofounder Kim Baden-Kristensen was sitting in a London café reading “The Brain that Changes Itself,” by Norman Doidge. The book made Baden-Kristensen realize that the convergence of technology and neuroscience holds great promise for improving the quality of life for many people.
Baden-Kristensen received good feedback from Derk Krieger, professor of neurology at the Danish National Hospital, and then Baden-Kristensen connected in April 2012 with his longtime friend and colleague, Ulrik Ditlev Eriksen. They started the company with the aim of improving people’s mental abilities.
In December 2012, Brain+ began several major research studies on human-computer interaction and cognitive rehabilitation. The project was funded with €1 million from The Danish Ministry of Business and Growth, along with €700,000 from angel investors. To date, the company has raised almost $4 million.
Brain+ partnered with software companies AppMonk ApS and Clockwork Consulting ApS to build a prototype iOS app with exercises that focused on memory and attention. They launched the app in January 2013 in Denmark for beta testing.
In the fall of 2013, game developer Rasmus Højengaard joined as chief creative officer, and he began refining the app. Now the app has been tested and it is launching in the North American market. Brain+ continues to refine it. Today is the formal launch for iPhone and iPad users in the United Kingdom and North America. Altogether, Brain+ has 25 employees.
Besides Lumosity, rivals include Fit Brains, Cogmed, and even Nintendo, which has said it will make games that improve the quality of life.