Facebook launches fund focused on apps

Facebook LogoMark Zuckerberg announced today at TechCrunch40 that Facebook is launching “fbFund.” The fund, which is done in cooperation with Accel Partners and The Founders Fund, will focus solely on the creation of new Facebook applications. The investment total? $10 million, with $25,000-$250,000 going towards each different app. Zuckerberg says that apart from having exclusive first-in rights for any company that sees a first round of financing, there will be no equity exchanged for the money, which will essentially be given in the form of a grant.

The investment committee is made up of Zuckerberg, Chamath Palihapitaya (Facebook’s V.P. of product marketing and operations), and Facebook board members Jim Breyer from Accel Partners and Peter Thiel from The Founders Fund. Reid Hoffman (founder of LinkedIn) and Rajeev Motwani (early Google advisor) are also acting as advisors.

The creation of this fund seemingly contradicts a comment made during Zuckerberg’s keynote speech at TC40 earlier today in which he explained that the app system was not designed for startups to be built solely around a Facebook application, but that companies should have a non-Facebook presence as well. As the F8 platform’s short history has shown, apps that are anchored to non-FB sites that have an established user base are, predictably, generally more successful than those that are on FB only: iLike was able to pitch their FB app to the user base of Garageband.com, the founder of the popular app “Food Fight” used his existing Trakzor.com property (3.5m registered users) to promote his app, etc. (article about the start of these and other apps found here).

News of this fund comes after Stanford announced a course in the Computer Science department that the university will offer this fall titled “Create Engaging Web Applications Using Metrics and Learning on Facebook.” Also, Graphing Social Patterns, a “new conference devoted to building and distributing apps on the Facebook platform,” will take place Oct. 7-9 in San Jose, Calif.

Business plans may be mailed to platform AT facebook DOT com.

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