Genius Games EDUKWEST Startup Profile

Startup Profile: Genius Games

Name: Genius Games
Kickstarter: Ion – A Compound Building Game
Headquarters: St. Louis
Vertical: K-12, STEM
Tech: Physical Product

Introduce your startup and give a short description of what you are doing.

Genius Games employs the mechanics of game play to systematically teach STEM subjects. Our games meet the ever-growing demand for better science education products that promote in-depth interaction with, and social engagement around, foundational topics in the hard sciences.

Who are the founders, how did you meet, what are your different roles in the startup.

John Coveyou Genius Games

John Coveyou is a passionate educator, who currently teaches middle school chemistry and physics, but has also taught the core sciences at all grade levels from middle school to college. A St. Louis native, he attended Washington University earning a bachelors’ degree in biology and a master degree in engineering. After seeing the need for more engaging and effective science resources, John started Genius Games with the mission of using games to cultivate a joy for science and stimulate inquisitive minds! His first game, Linkage: A DNA Card Game, was featured in Popular Science Magazine as one of “The 10 Best Things from February 2015” and his games continue to win many accolades.

How was the idea for your startup born?

Through teaching I noticed that students were intimidated by hard science topics before they even started the learning process. At the same time, I noticed that many students spent a great deal of time playing games, and even “studying” games. I thought to myself, why not make learning science more like playing a game.

What is the main problem in education that you aim to solve.

The U.S. Department of Education has stated the problem clearly: “The United States has become a global leader, in large part, through the genius and hard work of its scientists, engineers and innovators. Yet today, that position is threatened as comparatively few American students pursue expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)—and by an inadequate pipeline of teachers skilled in those subjects.”

In the United States, student literacy in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has seen a steady downward slide in recent decades – currently, our students rank at the 52nd percentile for STEM literacy globally.

Who are your main competitors? What sets you apart from them?

There are a few competitors who produce board games but none that produce science-themed games that teach!

In which markets / regions are you active. What markets / regions are next.

The U.S. education market and branching into the global market currently.

Who is your target audience.

A survey sent to individuals who purchased our games found that 33% of our customers were parents buying for their kids for “educational fun at home” and 27% of our customers were teachers who bought the games to be used in their science classrooms.

What is your business model. How much does your product / service cost.

We currently sell products through “Fulfillment By Amazon” (FBA) on Linkage cost $17.99, while Peptide has an MSRP of $29.99 and Ion will have an MSPR of $24.99

If you raised funding, how much did you raise. Who are your investors. If not, are you planning to raise funding.

Currently $60,000 from Kickstarter

Are there milestones you are especially proud of and would like to share.

Three successful Kickstarter campaigns as well as being featured in Popular Science, Gizmodo, and Scientific America.

What are the next steps in growing your startup.

Our planned growth strategy is twofold: First, leverage established distribution channels to increase the overall volume of sales, especially to schools and educational suppliers. Specifically targeting specialty locations such as Barnes and Noble, Toys-R-Us, Books-A-Million, GameStop, Target Stores, etc. Second, develop digital versions of our games for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac and PC, tapping to this highly accessible global market.

How can people get in touch with you.

Kirsten Winkler is the founder and editor of EDUKWEST. She also writes about Social Media, Digital Society and Startups at