By Lisa Alcalay Klug
WHILE PREPARING FOR her licensing
exam, veterinarian Autumn Unck discovered
it helped improve her memory. Frequent flier
Sam Ben-David found it a productive inflight pastime. And mother-of-four Suzannah
Raff chose it as an alternative to her children’s
video games and to enhance her own work as
a business coach.
It is Lumosity, a digital gym for your
brain. Wildly popular, this suite of online
games has literally brain-teased the prefrontal
cortex of more than 50 million members.
Designed to enhance speed, memory, train of
thought, attention, problem-solving skills and
other functions, its research-based software
morphs into your noggin’s personal trainer,
customizing its games to your abilities. And
with its vast user base, Lumosity also participates in scientific research and teams with neuroscientists worldwide for surprising results.
“We started Lumosity with the mission of
pioneering the understanding and enhancement of the human brain to give each person
the power to unlock their full potential,” says
company co-founder and chief scientist Mike Scanlon.
He and fellow Princeton grad
Kunal Sarkar, now Lumosity’s CEO,
birthed their brainchild in the
Silicon Valley in 2005. Sarkar, now
37, was working for a private equity
firm, and Scanlon, now 35, was
working on his doctorate in neuro-science at Stanford. Scanlon was
motivated to better understand the
brain after his two grandmothers
were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Research shows brains rewire
Maximum brain boosting
themselves through experience and
activity, such as computerized train-
ing, says Scanlon, whose studies focused on
brain plasticity—how the organ changes in
response to environment. “But these tools were
inaccessible to consumers,” he says, “so we
wanted to bring them out of the labs and create
real-world applications that could help people.”
Scanlon and Sarkar teamed up with co-
founder David Drescher, now their Lumos
Lab chief technology officer. In 2007, the trio
launched Lumosity with eight games and
$400,000 in angel funding. Within a year, they
drew $3 million in funding. In July 2010, they
launched their first mobile app. The following
month, membership skyrocketed to 11 mil-
lion. And the numbers are still climbing.
To maximize brain training, Lumosity recommends progressively challenging workouts
of five games 15 minutes a day, three to five
Lumosity creates gyms
for the brain
back to school
The Costco Connection
Costco warehouses carry a variety of books,
games, puzzles and more to stimulate
brains of all ages.
In our digital editions
Click here to view an example of
Lumosity’s brain games. (See page
13 for details.)
CEO: Kunal Sarkar
Number of registered users:
140 New Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Comments about Costco: Our company has been ordering from Costco for the
past three years, which has been especially useful as our company has nearly
tripled in size during that time.
—Erica Perng, Lumosity public relations
Kunal Sarkar (left) and Mike Scanlon,
founding brainiacs of Lumosity.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 36
Lumosity’s Color Match game challenges
your flexibility and speed, helping with
impulse control, avoiding errors and creative problem solving.