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Ohanarama: BrainRewards launches public beta of new family game network

Ohana means ‘family’ in Hawaiian. Ohanarama is the new family game network from a mother, serial entrepreneur and her team. Switch Philly Details: Ohanarama will be one of five startups demoing during Philly Tech Week When: Tues., April 26, 6 p.m. Where: Huntsman Hall, University of Pennsylvania Price: $9 (Tickets close morning of the event) […]


Ohana means ‘family’ in Hawaiian. Ohanarama is the new family game network from a mother, serial entrepreneur and her team.

Switch Philly Details: Ohanarama will be one of five startups demoing during Philly Tech Week
When: Tues., April 26, 6 p.m.
Where: Huntsman Hall, University of Pennsylvania
Price: $9 (Tickets close morning of the event)
Click Here to Get Tickets

Ohanarama, which recently launched public beta, is the signature platform from BrainRewards, a co-educational gaming startup co-founded by Jane Hoffer (@janehoffer), the mother of three and president of the Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs.
“The old story is that, yes, adults are flocking to social networks like Facebook,” says Hoffer. “In doing our initial prototyping, we found two really interesting things: that children under 13 are very interested in playing with family online and that there are 70 million grandparents, 50 percent of whom live more than 200 miles from grand kids and there’s no real interactive way for an extended family to play from a distance, other than maybe Skype.”
“So we said, ‘Let’s bridge that.’ The family is the original social network. It’s how kids socialize,” Hoffer says. “So we are taking the best of gaming and the best of social networking and bringing it to the fore to the multi-generational family online.”

Serving as a Facebook application, Ohanarama is a network of simple, sleek, family-friendly games that utilizes basic math, colors and spatial recognition and encourages users to challenge family members, using Facebook updates, though the games stands alone from the social network giant.

The next release, due around summer, is meant to further differentiate Ohanarama as an independent platform, Hoffer says. Already, users don’t need a Facebook account, which is particularly important for their younger (and older) users who might not have one.
BrainRewards welcomed 80 families onto its private beta, which closed in the fall following a round of funding.
“We had on average seven individuals on the family network, some combination of a mom, a day, a kid and three or four extended family members,” Hoffer said. “It was interesting to see that 70 percent of kids played with a grandmother.”
Parents who home school their children were utilizing it as a supplement, and, Hoffer said, and a handful of families that had grandparents abroad were some of their heaviest users.
“These games are meant to be simple and fun, so there are very few language barriers,” she said.
BrainRewards is keeping overhead lean, with Hoffer working out of her Wallingford office near Media in Delaware County, and her co-founder Barton Listick is in Los Angeles. Hoffer likes the idea of someday being based in Philadelphia, though, she said.

“The real differentiation is that we’re not a single game. We’re a platform for family bonding.” -Jane Hoffer

The revenue plans for Ohanarama are a mash of social networking staples and online basics: micro-transactions, virtual goods, sponsored games, advertising on adult accounts and, with time, Hoffer says, affiliate revenue with “family-friendly brands.”
Hoffer has done the business build before. In 2009, she sold Prescient Systems, which supplied transactional and analytical tools to retailers and suppliers like Target and Russell Stover candies, according to her biography.
BrainRewards, by way of Ohanarama, has greater upside, she says.
“The real differentiation is that we’re not a single game. We’re a platform for family bonding.”

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