Join gaming leaders online at GamesBeat Summit Next this upcoming November 9-10. Learn more about what comes next. 

SmartyCard has a smart way to get kids to learn via its reward-based quizzing approach. The company, which is showing off the service at DEMO today, runs a web site where kids can take quizzes to earn prizes that have been paid for by their parents.

It’s sort of like the carrot approach, getting kids to eat their veggies before enjoying dessert. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company sets up a bunch of multiple-choice quizzes — ranging in difficulty from easy to medium to hard. Each time kids score seven correct answers out of 10, they earn points. Those points can be used for prizes.

The prizes include all sorts of cool stuff, from iTunes music cards to video games. They’re paid for in advance by parents, who buy a certain amount of points-worth of prizes with real money. Quizzes can include such topics as “multiply,” “plants and animals,” “USA,” and economics.

A kid playing for an hour might earn 4,000 points, and prizes might be worth 25,000 points. Parents can look at the kids’ progress and see what they both learned and redeemed. Parents pay about $10 for 5,000 points. But the company is also preparing to launch currency cards at retail in the coming months, so kids can actually buy points with their own money. SmartyCard makes money in a kind of rewards arbitrage. It buys the rewards in bulk from various goods makers. Then it turns around and prices those rewards at a slight premium.


Three top investment pros open up about what it takes to get your video game funded.

Watch On Demand

The kids play with cartoon-style characters, aimed at kids in grades three to six. The company has 50 employees and is funded by Hearst Corp., Oak Ventures and Founders Fund. Its chief executive is Rob Hutter, former partner at Revolution Ventures. The company was founded in 2008. An indirect rival is HandiPoints and another is uBoost.


GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:
  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and "open office" events with GamesBeat staff
  • Chatting with community members, GamesBeat staff, and other guests in our Discord
  • And maybe even a fun prize or two
  • Introductions to like-minded parties
Become a member