What could be more satisfying than bragging rights over your friends? Getting paid to claim bragging rights over your peers, of course. And Bragster, a social network for making dares and social bets, aims to do just that with a $3.5 million Series A investment from Intel Capital and angel investor David Frankel. Fulfilling (with proof) a challenge nets users Bragbucks (OK, it's the site's internal currency, not real money) that they can then use to bet and dare other people.
With social networks proliferating, startups like Bragster, which was co-founded by former Morgan Stanley banker Wim Vernaeve (left), are increasingly focusing on a single community of users in order to differentiate themselves, a strategy that appears to be working for the one-year-old startup. It boasts 800,000 unique visitors from 150 countries. The site got some buzz last month when it challenged Simon Cowell of "American Idol" fame to do anything at all for a charity while still alive, after he expressed his intention to donate roughly $190 million upon his death.
Bragster said it would donate $1,000 of its own money to the charity if he took them up on it, but no word yet on how that bet has turned out. With some venture money in the bank, they can afford the donation, but the real trick might be staying out of court when someone gets hurt taking a crazy dare. - George White
See Feb. 13 Bragster press release