New Mobile Gaming Startup Fingerprint Seeks Growth By Linking Kids, Parents

A new company from ex-Leapfrog executive Nancy MacIntyre aims to give parents better insight into the educational mobile games their kids are playing and how they are playing them by letting them share in their child’s progress through the game.

Fingerprint is launching Thursday with $1.4 million in funding from K2MediaLabs, THQ (NSDQ: THQI), Reed Elsevier (NYSE: RUK) and Suffolk Ventures and plans to show third-party app developers how they can improve their games by ensuring that parents and kids can maintain a connection through the game, MacIntyre said. The Fingerprint Snapshot will let parents see how their kids are progressing through levels of an educational game by pinging them when a level has been completed, allowing the parent to send feedback to the child right in the game itself. It will also give parents a better sense of which games their kids are enjoying the most, which could give them better insight into future app purchases or downloads that could reward those interests.

The idea is to launch four games designed for four-to-seven-year-olds developed internally before the end of the year, MacIntyre said, in order to give third-party developers a sense of how Fingerprint Snapshot works. The games include a series built around the “Big Kid Life” brand, such as a Big Kid Firefighter game that teaches math skills and a Big Kid Life Fairy Princess game that teaches reading comprehension. All games have levels that need to be completed, at which point the parent is informed of the child’s progress and can send a little note of encouragement in response.

Fingerprint will also release a software-development kit that lets other developers put the technology inside of their own applications. MacIntyre hopes the company can build a network of parents that application developers will be interested in reaching with their own applications.

The applications and SDK will be available for iOS apps at launch, although MacIntyre hopes to expand to Android devices by next year. She hopes that game developers who have been left out in the cold by declining sales of portable game systems targeted at kids–like the Nintendo DS–will start to realize the opportunity they can reach on mobile devices.