Startup Lets You “Challeng” Celebrities To Do Whatever You Want

And raise money for good causes at the same time.
By Jonathan Harris
  • Until now, celebrities have told you what to care about. Paul McCartney wants you to support animal welfare, LeBron James is all about education, and everyone and their mothers think you need to support the fight against ALS right this minute.

    A new Internet startup wants to put the power into your hands. Challeng (pronounced just like the word “challenge”) gives you the opportunity to challenge anyone, a celebrity, friend or relative, to take any (legal) action. Why would they accept this dare? Because others have donated to support a cause, and the money only goes to the nonprofit selected if the challenged individual takes the action.

    For example, their first challenge is for LeBron James — they want him to take part in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest at the NBA All-Star Game, something he’s never done. Fans are definitely into this idea, and they’ve donated their own money to try and make it happen. Over $2,000 has already been raised for The Boys & Girls Clubs of America — but the money only makes its way to the organization should LeBron take the challenge.

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    (One wonders if some challenged individuals would prefer to just donate their own money, rather than take an unattractive challenge. I guess we’ll see.)

    Challeng CEO Benjamin Moshe admits the Ice Bucket Challenge was, at least partially, an inspiration for this endeavor.

    “Everyone agrees: celebrity challenges are awesome,” he said in an email interview with What’s Trending. “That’s why the Ice Bucket Challenge raised $100 million in less than a month. But Ice Bucket was the same challenge over and over again, and it got old quick. So we decided to build Challeng: an open platform for a constant stream of fun celebrity challenges, benefiting all kinds of amazing causes.”

    Things could really get interesting when the user submissions start streaming in.

    As Moshe told me, “anyone can submit a User Challeng without approval (we do moderate just to keep things clean).”

    As a test, I submitted a challenge to celebrity chef Guy Fieri to help me throw a party for friends with awesome snacks. It’s not just my vanity, though! We’re raising money for L.A. Kitchen, which provides meals and job training for the unemployed. Do you want me to throw a sweet party with awesome snacks by Guy Fieri? Why not donate? You won’t be charged a dime unless Fieri accepts the challenge. (If this happens, What’s Trending will absolutely film it.)

    “We definitely think a User Challeng could go viral, and we’ve already had some really clever submissions,” Moshe said.

    Let’s hope it’s mine.