Facebook Announces First Batch of fbFund Finalists
Online social networking behemoth Facebook has picked 25 of 50 finalists for
the company's fbFund, a $10 (for now) fund to create incentives for the
development of "social and engaging experiences" with Facebook Connect,
according to a blog post on Facebook. The fund is administered by Facebook and
funded by Accel Partners and The Founders Fund.
The finalists get a $1,000 advertising credit, with a more select group singled out for up to $100,000 in grants and the opportunity to visit an fbFund school this summer. In this funding cycle, Facebook for the first time invited more than 20 of its developer council advisers and investors to help it review, rate, interview and select the finalists. The council will serve as mentors to the selected companies during the Incubator Program taking place this summer.
"We spent many a late night in April and May toiling over hot laptops, reading executive summaries, reviewing Powerpoint presentations, watching video pitches," wrote Dave McClure, Founders Fund startup investor and director of the fbFund 2009 incubator program. "At the end, we had a tough time figuring out which teams building Facebook apps, Facebook Connect Websites and iPhone apps would make the cut and which would not."
The first batch of finalists includes iPhone applications like FriendFreak, connect sites like Frinto and platform sites like Travel Brain. FriendFreak is a social iPhone application for learning more about your Facebook friends, Frinto is a matchmaking application, and the Travel Brain application on Facebook allows users to choose their favorite travel spots.
McClure says Facebook next will choose from among the 50 finalists the winning Incubator apps and startups. "The winners will be offered the opportunity to participate in our summer Incubator program," he wrote. "Our 10-week program will begin in mid-June and go thru end of August in Silicon Valley, and will be housed at one of the former Facebook offices in downtown Palo Alto."
Additionally, the fund will rely upon the Facebook Platform product marketing team and an advisory council that includes Reid Hoffman, founder and chairman of LinkedIn; Josh Kopelman, founder of First Round Capital; and Rajeev Motwani, professor of computer science at Stanford University and an early adviser to Google.
"The ideal team for us to fund has a lot of technical depth and passion for Facebook," the company states on the fbFund Web page. "We care more about how smart you are than how old you are, and more about the quality of your ideas and ability to execute than on your formal business plan."