Facebook Announces 2009 fbFund Winners

Facebook has just announced the winners of the 2009 fbFund competition – 18 startups and two non-profits – who will also be invited to participate in the fbFund REV 2009 summer incubator program at Facebook’s offices in Palo Alto.

While Facebook has not yet announced specific details on equity investments, Cat Lee of the Facebook Platform team says in total winners will receive over US $500,000 in funding (excluding the two non-profits, who cannot receive funding under current fbFund rules). But without further ado, here are the winners:

18 Startups

  • Frintro: Find friends of friends to date…or play matchmaker! If you’re single, you can search your friends’ friends and ask for intros. If you’re taken, you can set friends up. Friends of friends are the best people to date. It’s social dating via friendly intros.
  • Funji: Funji is an avatar-based social networking app for the iPhone and iPod touch, satisfying users’ desire to express themselves and communicate with others in a fun, creative way. The team has over five years of experience in the mobile market in both South Korea and the US.
  • Gameyola: Gameyola is a distribution and monetization platform for casual Flash games. Flash games currently monetize poorly, but Gameyola solves this problem by providing Flash developers tools to sell virtual goods and to acquire users through social channels.
  • Life360 (private beta): From keeping track of your kids, to protecting your identity and getting back your lost stuff, Life360 is the place you go to keep your family safe, secure, and prepared for daily life.
  • MyChurch.org: Churches create their own social networks on MyChurch.org. They extend their community between Sundays with tools to connect and engage their members. Over 30,000 church congregations are represented on MyChurch.org.
  • Navify: Navify is a visual encyclopedia that combines Wikipedia articles with images, videos, and comments. It is the only general encyclopedia that allows you to listen to music videos, watch movie trailers, and browse news and celebrity photo galleries.
  • Nutshell Mail: Simplify the way you manage Facebook and other social networks. NutshellMail consolidates activity from all your accounts into a single email digest delivered on your schedule. Don’t let email alerts clutter your inbox. Get informed, not interrupted. Get the Nut!
  • Networked Blogs: Bring your blog to Facebook, and Facebook to your blog. Pull your feed to your profile and business pages, add widgets to promote your network, and read the news from blogs you follow on the largest community of bloggers and blog lovers on Facebook.
  • Paradise Paintball 3D: Paradise Paintball is the first game developed on Cmune’s next-generation social gaming platform. It is the first casual 3D multiplayer FPS game on Facebook, Apple Dashboard and Mac & PC. Play with up to 8 friends and buy virtual items to enhance the gameplay.
  • Photos I Like: Photos I Like is a digital media sharing and discovery site emphasizing lightweight social content, self-expression, and communities.
  • RentMineOnline: Combines the success of resident referral programs with the power of social networks. Residents refer their community to friends through social networks like Facebook, and email to earn rewards and live with friends.’
  • RunMyErrand: RUNmyERRAND is a social networking inspired web and mobile marketplace that provides people and businesses an easy and trusted way to get everyday tasks done in their own hyperlocal community.
  • RunThere: RunThere is a social-networking service for runners and cyclists. Users can map and measure their favorite routes (no GPS required), keep a running/biking log, and find athletes and routes nearby.
  • Sortuv: Sortuv lets you start with something you like, and discover more. Instead of searching for a “great restaurant” just say what you mean: “Find me a place sortuv like Spago in Seattle”. Check us out on the Web, on the iPhone, and on Facebook.
  • TravelBrain/GeckoGo: Travel Brain by GeckoGo helps you track (and show off!) your travels, share experiences with others, and discover new places to visit. Learn from the knowledge of over 600,000 travelers, and get expert guide info from our Bradt Travel Guides partnership.
  • Weardrobe (private beta): Weardrobe is a fashion-focused community for discovering different ways to wear clothing. Weardrobe provides a platform for people to share reviews of their own clothing, post photos of their looks, catalog their closet and search for style inspiration.
  • Workstir: Workstir is a community that connects users with trustworthy local service providers. Anyone can post a job and choose a provider with confidence by browsing their past reviews. For businesses, Workstir provides a wealth of jobs in their area of expertise.
  • Worldly Developments (private beta): Worldly Developments is building online services that will help you connect with the people, places and events in your local community. Its first product makes it a snap to plan, promote, and communicate around group activities.

2 Non-profits

  • Samasource: Sama is Sanskrit for “equal” – Samasource finds and trains reliable QA professionals to test Facebook apps with a user-friendly interface that lives on the Platform. With Samasource, developers lower costs, reduce poverty, and improve their applications.
  • Vittana: Vittana enables you to lend directly to students in the developing world, $25 at a time. Our mission is to bring student loans to the developing world through the power of person-to-person microlending.

Summer Incubator Program in Palo Alto

fbFund’s 2009 REV incubator program, which is being organized by Dave McClure, will offer winners the chance to come together in Palo Alto and work under the mentorship of advisors from the fbFund Developer Advisory Council and Facebook.

“Already planned are sessions with speakers from our fbFund Advisory Council, business luminaries, and our Facebook Platform team focused on everything from operating lean startups and metrics for success to marketing and monetization. The days will be packed with opportunities to get together, learn from one another, brainstorm and iterate on applications and business models,” Lee says.

Because the investments this round are in the seed range, participants will be encouraged to explore further financing opportunities at the end of the summer. All of the startups will get the chance to pitch to angel investors and VCs as the incubator program winds down in late August. In addition, Facebook says it is dropping the right of first refusal on further financing from the fbFund terms.

Over 400 applications were submitted for fbFund financing in this round. Facebook invited over 20 of the fbFund council advisors and investors to help review, rate, and select the finalists.

As a member of the developer advisory council, I was really impressed by all of the innovative applications and websites being built. Congrats to all the fbFund 2009 winners!