ChallengeMeClub is an interactive entertainment and chat platform for creating and accepting challenges. Basically, you can use our app to issue challenges, private or public, to friends, strangers, or colleagues, and then vote on the posted proofs and chat with other participants while the clock ticks away.
Our mission is to build a global challenge and contest platform that connects the world, entertains, and hopefully, inspires our users.
At whom is your startup aimed?
It’s a fun, visual messaging platform, so I think a younger demographic will enjoy it. It is also for any non-profits or individuals trying to spark philanthropic social challenges, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, or brands seeking higher engagement with their customers on a more interactive platform
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
Klash, a Berlin based startup, is a competitor, but the products are markedly different and Klash has closed down.
The obvious competitors are the usual social media behemoths, but none of those platforms are designed to host challenges and contests. Taking a quick search of #challengeme indicates there is plenty of demand from users though.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
The idea actually came from my younger brother. I was ideating on incorporating health related challenges into another startup of mine, EndorphMe. He latched onto the idea of challenges, and ignoring the health part, painted me a vision, in that way only a teenager can, of a social challenge platform. I began to visualize it and the rest is history.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so what were they?
Not at the beginning but I’m an optimist. Concerns arose as I went along.
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
Formally, I’ve worked at Songza (acquired by Google), media companies including William Morris Endeavor and Media Rights Capital, and briefly in finance at a PE firm. But I’ve always been entrepreneurial – in high school I had an eBay business selling imports, I started a marketplace for college musicians while at Princeton, and ChallengeMeClub grew out of another startup of mine called EndorphMe.
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
We are currently bootstrapped and our funding to date has been a combination of personal funds and investment from friends and family.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
The team that I’ve assembled to build ChallengeMeClub and the persistence we’ve shown.
How have you kept your business relevant and engaged with your audience over the last three years?
It remains to be seen as we are launching on February 25th.
How long has your business been in making, and who is the team behind the business?
The product itself took three months to build, but the business and the ideation process started just under a year ago. My co-founder and COO is Justin Harris, who successfully built his own SAT tutoring business, and our CTO is Kurt Braget (Hey, Tickr, HowMuch). We also work with some very talented designers and developers in Romania.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Remaining focused in the face of scarcity. It’s tempting to try to do more when you’re faced with limitations, but in reality the best thing you can do is hone in even more aggressively on the key factors that will move your business forward.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
A highly engaged user base, trending user numbers, and closing a round of seed financing.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
It’s all about the people and the team around you.The idea will evolve but you need people with the talents to execute and move your vision forward.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Put your product first and try to achieve simplicity and focus in your product as quickly as possible. If your product can’t be explained in 15 seconds, it is probably too complicated. Move forward quickly but with measured awareness to prove or disprove early assumptions – details are crucial but so is the big picture.