New Fingerprint funding to expand mobile games for kids internationally

Fingerprint, the San Francisco-based gaming company that produces educational games for kids, plans to announce Wednesday that it has raised new funding to expand its mobile offerings to international markets and Android users, just about a year after the company’s launch.

Nancy MacIntyre, a former executive at Leapfrog, launched Fingerprint Digital in September 2011 to take advantage of opportunities for children’s games on mobile. She said she knew the market would be expanding when she saw how children responded to the touch features of the iPhone when it came out in 2007.

“This device is in the pocket and pocketbooks of parents,” she said. “It was clear to me that mobile gaming for kids would become a big business.”

The Fingerprint Play platform, released in December, now supports 14 games for kids on iOS that have been played a collective 20 million minutes, with an average play session lasting about nine minutes. Some of those 14 games have been released by the company, and others have been released by third-party developers for the Fingerprint platform. MacIntyre said she compares the platform to a television channel like Nickelodeon or Disney, that cross-promotes its branded content to users all across the channel.

A company spokeswoman would not provide an exact number for the amount of funding raised, but said it brought the total to about $7.7 million, and the company launched in September 2011 with $1.4 million in funding. The funding comes from Corus Entertainment, a media and entertainment company that owns popular children’s book series Max & Ruby, Babar, and Franklin and Friends, among others. MacIntyre said she hopes that Fingerprint will be able to translate some of those popular brands to new games on the Fingerprint platform going forward.

The Fingerprint games are aimed at elementary-aged kids, who can play different Fingerprint games on the iPhone or iPad and send updates to their parents on how they’re progressing. By far the cutest feature allows parents to view the kid’s progress in a particular game, and record their voice leaving an encouraging message to send back to the child in the app. MacIntyre said the company has another eight games in the works, and the most popular play time across all timezones is between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., likely the time when parents are making dinner and want to keep kids busy. She noted that the Fingerprint communication features allow the parents to keep tabs on what their kids are learning, even if they aren’t physically present.

“We think of ourselves as being clearly on the cutting edge of both learning and play,” she said. “It’s like organic Cheetos.”