Bragster, a social network for dares (think Jackass meets Facebok), has closed a $3.5 million Series A round of venture capital funding led by Intel Capital, the global investment arm of Intel Corp. They were joined by angel investor David Frankel through Puressence Limited. Frankel previously invested in companies including GetMeIn and SiteAdvisor, sold to Ticketmaster and McAfee, respectively. Bragster is the re-launched Gottabet which won a seed round in 2006 but dumped it’s cash bettings model.
In Bragster you don’t place cash bets, you simply ‘brag’ to your friends that you will do something, like turn up at work in your pyjamas. You can even bet that you will graduate from college. Anything you like really. It’s very video oriented as well, so people can see proof of your dare. Revenues will eventually come from ‘sponsored brags’ created by brands which want to distribute a marketing message in a fun way, and they are looking to license a white label version of the platform. Bragster is biggest in English speaking territories like the UK, US and Canada. The site, which has also managed to attract a few celebrities who use it to create brags for their fans, has garnered 800,000 viewers in a year.
Bragster was foundered by Belgium-born Wim Vernaeve and Bertrand Bodson who run the company in London, with a 10 person team. The site is built on Ruby on Rails.
Bragster is a fun idea and likely to attract interest from advertisers looking for a more focused approach to social media. It’s part if a wave of new social startups focusing around people laying non-cash bets on some kind of “social object“, even news events (e.g. HubDub). It’s also the sort of focused social media site that might get picked up by a more generalist entertainment site like Bebo or MySpace looking to expand its portfolio. Or perhaps a media company.