Vancouver-based Fit Brains, an online brain fitness platform, has had more than 1.5 million downloads of its iOS apps in a little over two months since first releasing its iPhone and iPad apps in December 2012. Created by Vivity Labs with the help of neuroscientist Dr. Paul Nussbaum, Fit Brains offers more than 30 brain games developed to sharpen five major cognitive functions that include memory, concentration, visual, speed, and problem solving.
With the web version originally launched in 2008, CEO Michael Cole spoke with BetaKit about the company’s success on mobile. “We’ve been at the brain training space for a while but we were really more focused on the web. We’ve been working on the web version for a while and we’ve had success with it,” said Cole in an interview. “Brain training is probably better served on the mobile platform because you can have bite-sized sessions throughout your day, whether you’re on the bus or with your iPad on your couch.”
Though users were averaging 40 minutes per session on the web app, Cole said the mobile apps were key as people don’t always have the luxury of spending an extended time and can now break up the training. The company is already seeing differences emerge between its web and mobile products, having observed that on the web the average user leaned more towards being between the ages of 35-60 and female, whereas on the mobile apps users range from kids as young as 10 all the way to seniors as old as 90. The games are designed to work as much as 27 parts of the brain, with Cole making the analogy of it being a full-body workout where users can make sure they’re working on their major brain muscles.
The app is free to download, and users have access to a limited amount of free training sessions before they’re asked to upgrade through an in-app subscription, either three months for $4.99, six months for $6.99, or one year for $9.99. Cole said that more than 70 percent of the users who choose to subscribe opt to go with the full-year subscription.
Though there are no shortage of brain training apps, games, and services, including a thought-controlled headband from InteraXon, there are a few that have emerged as being more top of mind, with Lumosity being Fit Brains’ top competitor. Lumosity announced at the end of January that it now has 35 million members and is adding 100,000 users a day, with 50,000 App Store downloads daily. When asked about how Fit Brains’ platform differs, Cole responded saying that though Lumosity had been doing better on the web, he believes Fit Brains has a slight edge when it comes to mobile due mostly to the company’s background in gaming and understanding for what makes something addictive.
“Lumosity and I have been fighting it out for quite some time and they definitely have been much better on the web,” Cole added. “We just bring a different DNA, we have more a gaming background, I think if you play our app compared to theirs, you’ll find it a bit more diverse, the games, and they’re a bit more addicting.”
Based on the apps’ early success, Vivity Labs will look to build out a portfolio of mobile apps around the brain training space down the road. For now the company is eyeing the Android platform for its existing apps and will be looking to launch localized versions of Fit Brains globally over the coming weeks. It’s obvious looking at the two sites that Lumosity has a much more fleshed-out and well-designed web presence, so Fit Brains will need to corner mobile in order to have any hope of competing with the brain training leader.