UT alumni creates social media app based on dares

Raza Retiwala

Double Dog users get paid to do dares.  

Austin Arnold and his friends came up with the idea one night on Rainey Street. The Double Dog team is now made up of Arnold, Rodrigo Carvalho, Theodore Dasher and Bill Watts. 

The idea of the app is simple. Users propose dares to each other. If the dare is accepted, the daree must post video or photographic evidence of the completion of the dare onto their profile. 

These videos serve two functions. First, they prove that the user followed through with the dare. Second, users can add to the videos to their profile, creating a record of all their past dares. 

“The most recent one was a guy in a bikini rolling around in the snow,” Dasher said.

In return for going through with dares, users gain bones, points displayed on profiles. They can also make cold, hard cash.

Darers propose a certain amount of money for a dare. If the daree completes the dare, the darer pays up. If not, the darer is given an option. If the darers do the dare themselves, the daree pays the darer two times the original price. However, if the darer doesn’t go through with the dare, the darer pays the daree three times the cost of the dare.

“Double Dog is novel in a few ways, … [Its] users prompt each other for content, as opposed to traditional social media where the choice to create and broadcast content is a unilateral one,” Arnold said.

Currently, Double Dog is around one month old and has over 3,500 users. Arnold and his team hope to expand to around 10,000 users by SXSW.

“Double Dog is a game for the mind as much as it is a game for the bar,” Arnold said.

He said that Austin, Texas, is a perfect breeding ground for startups. 

“What interested me the most was the exposure and cooperation UT had to Austin’s blossoming startup scene,” Arnold said.

He said that during his time at UT, there was interest in startups but little organizations focused on cultivating that interest. At UT, programs such as Longhorn Startup and Cockrell’s Innovation Center now propel students with an interest in entrepreneurship to a new level and connect them with the resources they need to be successful. 

“The more the better,“ Carvalho said. “If every startup is pursuing their own angle, then there’s plenty of diversity. There’s bound to be something of value coming from that space.”

Arnold, Carvalho and Dasher said the app allows for a new level of connectivity between its users. They view it as a new way for people to interact.

“When we saw our friends get wild with the app, it became obvious that Double Dog would be more than just a tech demo,” Arnold said.