Duel, a new competitive photo-duelling app, has launched in the UK. And this is how it was launched by its creator Paul Archer…


“Duel is the illegitimate child of Draw Something and Snapchat”


Dubbed the “illegitimate child of Draw Something and Snapchat” by Paul, Duel works by players either uploading a single photo, giving it a title, and then challenging their friends to respond with their own image, or they send their friends a pair of ‘duelling’ photos, and ask them to decide which they prefer.

I challenge you to a Duel

Paul explains: “Duel is an antidote to shouting into a social media abyss – it’s a photo-duelling app that people can play with their tight network of friends, the ones that really matter to them. Those people whose opinions people actually care about.

“Having travelled around the world in a black cab with my best friends, which was ridiculously difficult but also fantastically fun, I was inspired to make an app for my friends and I to challenge each other via our phones.”


Players can ask for decisions on anything, from what to wear, what to buy, to where to go, and in turn they get to influence the outcome of every Duel they see. There are no comments, no likes, players simply vote for the best. The app is designed to encourage high levels of engagement on a regular basis.

“It’s bold, irreverent, playful and addictive – everything you want in a game-changing app”


The beta app is already making waves in the right circles: It has a dedicated user-base who ‘duel’ every day, and it is currently being trialled at The O2 arena, around sport and entertainment events. Stephen Fraser, Social Media Manager, The O2, said: “I’m excited about Duel, particularly for brands looking for a new way to engage with that elusive millennial market. It’s bold, irreverent, playful and addictive – everything you want in a game-changing app.”

And that’s not all, it has been hailed as a game-changing idea by Joining The Dots, a support programme for musicians that is funded by the Arts Council and The Guardian. It also won the KITE Startup Pitch for Brand Partnerships at SXSW 2015, which was judged by executives from Unilever, L’Oreal and Coca-Cola.

Duelling across the world

Duel was created by Daredevil Project Studios, which is based in Bristol and Greece, and makes mobile and social products that encourage people to have adventures. Duel was incubated at WebStart Bristol and SetSquared, was picked to be a resident at Bristol’s famous Pervasive Media Studios and has won a place at a Microsoft Venture’s Microsoft Innovation Centre.

“Bristol is defined by its desire not to conform, and that really rings true with our company and our ethos”


We asked Paul, as he’s been all over the world (breaking world records as he goes – see video above), why he chosen Bristol to create his new tech startup?

“I moved here for a girl and only planned to stay a few months. That was two years ago…

“I’ve fallen in love with the city, the people and the general attitude of the city. I don’t feel that we lose anything by not being based in London as it’s so easy to hop on a train (which I do a few times a week). We massively benefit from the talent and the thriving community. Plus Bristol is defined by its desire not to conform, and that really rings true with our company and our ethos.”

Vlogging a startup

You’ll be hearing a lot more from Paul on TechSPARK as we will be featuring his weekly thoughts on running a startup on the site. Paul’s already shared loads of useful advice on what it’s like to make a successful startup, as you can see below:


Startup tips: 5 things Paul learned as he got ready to launch Duel

So why is Paul vlogging his journey? We asked him what he hopes people will get out of Duel’s video blogs?

“To be honest we don’t know, and that’s what makes them exciting. All we know is that nobody else is vlogging their startup journey and we want to do things differently. I expect it will be common place very soon. We’re talking with hundreds of YouTubers of all different sizes and it really makes a difference and show’s that we are passionate about their community and not just another company trying to capitalise on their audiences.

“And to be honest if it was 2009, we would have a blog, but it’s 2015 so we have a vlog.”

You can see all Paul’s recent vlogs on his Paul Archer video channel, and you can download the Duel app here: Duel on iOS. And check back soon for the next video!

Jamie Middleton