E3 Smash Challenge: a charity ping pong tournament for startups and celebs

Tomorrow night, anyone who’s ever bragged about their mastery of ping pong in the break room will have the chance to prove their mettle.

The inaugural E3 Smash Challenge will bring together members of the tech and startup communities along with 12 celebrities to battle it out on the court and network between matches.

“The idea of E3, the ping pong challenge, came a couple of months ago,” Jack Lafortune, CEO of JED Lab and founder of E3 Smash Challenge told MTLinTECH. “I’m running a startup, and every time there’s clients or partners that come, before or after the meeting there’s always a ping pong challenge that we do. We always play ping pong. And last year I was in Silicon Valley and went to a whole bunch of tech companies, and I noticed that ping pong was ubiquitous. It was in every startup, it was in every large tech company. So I figured it would be a great event to have a matchup between tech startups, or any successful Montreal company, to challenge themselves playing ping pong.”

The addition of celebrities to the mix serves a dual purpose. Their inclusion helps with the marketing and profile of the event, but also brings them in contact with startups as potential investors.

“If they want to invest in them or be ambassadors for some of them, it’s an opportunity for both. I don’t think there’s an event like that in the world that mixes ping pong with celebs and startups. That was the challenge I gave myself, to mix and match all of these elements to make a semi-annual challenge.”

The event is taking place tomorrow evening from 5 to 9 pm at the JED Lab office (400 Atlantic Ave) in the area of the Mile Ex, close to Beaubien and Parc. There will be 10 ping pong tables, and the opportunity to compete for four different cups: a celebrity cup, a startup cup, a dream team cup, and the smashup cup.

“We’re going to play for about four hours, there’s going to be some finals, we have a referee per table. We’re expecting about 150 people, so around 50 teams and 12 celebrities. It’s a big event.”

There’s a $40 fee to participate, although spectators can get in for free. Participants can expect a minimum of around three games, with finalists playing anywhere from eight to twelve.

“We’re also raising money and awareness for a foundation called Pour Trois Points, which is a foundation that works with underprivileged kids, and they do life coaching and also basketball coaching at the same time. So we want to give back to them. If there’s enough money, I’d like to give money to the different winners in the different categories.”

But the real goal aside from the four different trophies on offer, is to create an online ranking system so that participants can keep track of their stats over time.

“Since we’re going to do the event on a semi-annual basis, the people who are playing in the first edition will have their rankings. Eventually we’ll have something where people can check their status online or they can check their status on location. We’re going to have five different interactive TVs where you can see your standing, see the statistics of your game and of other teams during the event. Everything will be online thanks to our sponsor RAQ Canada, which is a leader in interactive scoreboards.”

Click here to register for the event before tomorrow night.

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