Facebook launches fbFund to invest in Platform developers

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg just announced at TechCrunch40 today that Facebook is launching fbFund, a $10 million venture fund to invest specifically in Facebook Platform developers. fbFund will be backed and managed by Jim Breyer of Accel Partners and Peter Thiel of Founders Fund; Facebook itself will not invest in the fund, but will apparently play an active role in managing it.

fbFund will grant between $25,000 and $250,000 per startup, putting it somewhere between a traditional seed fund and ultra-early-stage fund like Y Combinator. According to Facebook:

  • The grants will not come with any conditions except that the grantee use the funds to build their company on Facebook Platform.
  • Any individual or company is eligible, anywhere in the world can apply as long as they have not raised any formal venture funding.
  • The Founders Fund and Accel Partners will have the right to fund these companies first, but beyond this, no equity or debt will be associated with any grant made.
  • Anyone will be able to apply for an fbFund grant from the Facebook website. All proposals will be reviewed by the advisory council and then approved by the investment committee. The goal is to get decisions to potential grantees within the month that they apply.
  • Initially, you can mail your business plan to platform@facebook.com. In coming weeks, we will set up an online submission process. Submissions are being accepted immediately.
  • We want to see the most innovative and ambitious proposals for building a business on Facebook Platform.

fbFund’s charter board of directors includes Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn (often called a competitor to Facebook these days), Josh Kopelman of First Round Capital, and Rajeev Motwani of Google/Stanford. Zuckerberg has certainly allied with some very smart investors to direct fbFund.

fbFund marks a major development in the growth of the Facebook economy. The financial options available to developers building great applications and creating serious value on Facebook are increasing, and more investors are sure to follow. (Early stage Facebook-focused funds have also recently been set up by Bay Partners and Altura Ventures.) However, with the advent of fbFund, Facebook will of course now more than ever have to do a great job maintaining its credibility as an equal-opportunity-platform.