Lumosity's reach as the go-to, brain-training program could not be more obvious: The cognitive booster app for the iPhone has achieved No. 1 rank in the education category of the Apple iTunes App Store and also No. 1 in education category in nearly 40 countries.
An iPad version was launched Thursday. These programs attract users who want to shore up memory and attention for personal and professional reasons. Users range from eager student achievers to pilot candidates to emergency responders.
What Lumosity means in business terms is also clear: Brain-training software is an active industry going nowhere but up. Computerized brain-training programs have taken off, as people seek their help to keep their brains in good shape. Business estimates peg brain training to be a $3 billion industry by 2015.
Lumosity has been a winner in this category; the cognitive training and tracking software, launched in 2007, represents more than 40 games, 45 million registered members, and paying subscribers from 180 countries.
In January, VentureBeat sat up and took notice that Lumosity, from San Francisco-based Lumos Labs, had already hit 35 million users -- its mobile app was being downloaded almost 50,000 times a day.
Lumos Labs is staffed by experts who know how to draw upon academic research on cognition and neuroscience and apply it to games.
The magic formula used to fuel the company's rocket ride is actually not magic, but more fundamental to business strategies that succeed. The company is mining human capital and knowledge capital.
Users provide anonymized data back to the company -- anonymized information that has become a tremendous company resource.
The company's team works with a data set that contains the world's largest and continuously growing dataset of human cognitive performance, according to the company. This includes over 40 million people who have been tracked for up to six years.
The company has something called "the Human Cognition Project" that has attracted a collaboration of 1,500 researchers worldwide. They are all working to study and find ways to improve human cognition.
What does this mean for Lumos Labs? Big data sets mean cognitive performance and health-related questions can be worked on across age groups, locations, medical conditions, and education in experiments quickly.
Lumos Labs can use the findings to stay on top of its own cognitive training products but also to strengthen its name recognition among the world's neuroscientists, clinicians, and academics. They all gain from the focus on neuroscience.
Why does the Lumosity provide all these tools and services to the Human Cognition Project for free?
According to the company's FAQs, "[T]hese collaborations enable Lumosity to receive third-party validation and studies to be performed on its products. These third-party collaborations provide deep scientific insights that can drive a better understanding of human mental performance as well as paths for Lumosity to improve it."
Translation: It's a win-win-win. The data amassed provides branding, improves the company's own games and market intelligence, and feeds the ongoing enthusiasm of its human capital, its staff.