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Budge makes a mobile game out of charitable giving

Budge is making a social mobile game out of charitable giving. The New York company has created a iPhone app that is a “microdonation platform” and makes it fun and simple to donate to charity. You can challenge your friends, saying you will donate to a charity if they do something like wear pink socks to the office or cook you dinner.

budge 2Users can stir up donations just by getting friends to do activities that they already do or play games they already like. The loser of the challenge can donate a predetermined amount to one of a handful of charities. The hope is to overcome typical roadblocks to philanthropy through fun, engagement, and simplicity.

“Budge was born out of our vision that giving to charity should be a fun and super easy process,” said Hillan Klein, the chief executive and cofounder of New York and Australia-based Budge. “With this goal in mind, we set out to build a new culture in charitable giving specifically aimed at Gen Y by combining social gaming with microdonations. We want to educate people that it’s okay to give in small amounts — casual deeds can truly have a meaningful impact.”

Users can enlist their friends through Facebook. It takes only a few seconds to create a “budge,” where you select a charity and then issue a challenge. You can make a “budge” out of anything: a game of chess, a meeting for coffee, or a pizza-eating contest. The winning “budge” is published to Facebook. If you “like” the app, it will show up in your friends’ news feeds. The micro-donations are processed in real time.

Budge has members in Australia and the U.S., and the app is available in the Apple iTunes App Store. Budge has raised $1 million from Australian investors including Square Peg Ventures; Tony Faure, the former chief executive officer of Yahoo!SouthAsia; and Matt Rockman, the cofounder of SEEK.com.au.

The company has created partnerships with nonprofits including African Services, BreastCancer.org, EngenderHealth, Envirolution, National MS Society (NY Chapter), The United Nations World Food Program U.S.A., and Read Global.

“Budge is creating a cultural shift in micro-philanthropy,” said Paul Bassatt, principal, Square Peg Ventures. “Currently, charitable giving is at an inflection point — struggling to engage younger generations while also grappling with how best to revive a stagnant industry. With its seamless social mobile user experience, we think Budge will help power this new era of philanthropy, and we’re excited to be part of this opportunity.”

Budge was founded in August 2011 and has two employees. Rivals include Snoball. Klein was most recently employed in the web operations of National Australia Bank. C0founder Marc Lipsitz previously designed kitchen products at Breville.


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