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Louisville word game inventor puts Gadzookery mobile app up for crowdfunding. Another success story in the making?

by Tre Pryor

Louisville has never been confused with a tech hub. Sure, we have our success stories, many of which are spotlighted here on InsiderLouisville.com.

Just last week, I wrote about the amazing work Michael Schnuerle is doing with online maps. Great stuff and there’s more to come, thanks to efforts from groups like Leadership Louisville, Louisville Digital Association, and others.

Screen capture of Gadzookery opening screen

This is the first screen you will see when you start the Gadzookery app.

I read a great piece by Grace Simrall called Entrepreneur Spotlight: Potluck’s Not So OVERnight Success. (Editor: Great story title that.) Aaron Marshall, already knee-deep in Louisville tech, came up with a simple, yet stellar idea and is now reaping some deserved praise.

Today, I’d like to highlight another simple app that has yet to hit the market. Yes, it’s designed by a Louisvillian, not by birth, but we’ll get to that. Yes, it’s easy-to-use yet has the potential to be huge! But the intriguing part, at least to me, is that you can share in its success!

Before we talk about the app, let’s first step back and quickly hit the idea of crowdfunding, which is currently hitting the business world like a hurricane.

From wikipedia:

Crowd funding or crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding or hyper funding) describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their resources, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.

It’s a way for anyone with an idea to gain financial support from any number of individuals who can each contribute quite small amounts. The better the idea, the more people will want in. Brilliant!

Screen shot of Gadzookery with the target word GAMES

Here you see the app displaying the target word "GAMES" with the player choosing the words "Gadzookery App Making Entertaining Sentences"

Now back to our Louisville entrepreneur. He’s not exactly from here. In fact, he was born in Great Britain. With an adventurous spirit and a love for travel, Simon Brooks (@SimonZook) bounced around the world, 50+ countries, but finally landed in Louisville.

Then, he didn’t want to leave.

After a number of disparate endeavors, Brooks kept coming back to a word game concept that he’s smartly named Gadzookery.

The idea is simple. A player is given a target word. His job is to create a sentence with the same number of words as there are letters in the target word. Also, each word in the sentence needs to begin with the corresponding letter.

See the screenshot to the right for an example.

The game can be played solo or with friends, similar to the wildly successful Words With Friends and Draw Something.

There are a couple of powerful reasons why I believe this concept will be a winner.

First, it can be played over and over and over again—the number of target words is practically endless.

Screen shot of Gadzookery results screen

After the sentences are submitted, the results screen allows for more strategic moves by the players.

Second, because it’s actually an exercise in expanding one’s vocabulary, the game is also educational. Mr. Brooks has reached an agreement with Dictionary.com to built functionality into the app and has visions of school children playing the game in class, and… wait for it, actually learning! That’s powerful stuff.

Rather than attempt to go the venture capital (VC) route, Mr. Brooks choose the crowdfunding option, appbackr, where not only the inventor can gain but also those who contribute can get a return on their investment.

With just 7 days left, anyone can “back” this app for as little as $10 and potentially get back $16, for a 54% return on investment. There’s more to it than that, but you can visit the Gadzookery page on appbackr for more information.

Sounds like a winning idea to me, which is why I put my money where my mouth is and backed this Louisville based app. Who’s with me?!

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