Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Facebook, VCs give 18 developers seed money

Excellent option for those trying to get money for their internet startup.




Facebook has announced the names of 18 Internet startups that have won seed funding, a chance to participate in a 10-week incubator program and the opportunity to get even more venture funding down the road.

The companies were chosen from more than 400 developers and entrepreneurs from around the world who applied in a competition sponsored by Facebook, Accel Partners and Founders Fund. The two venture funds will invest more than $500,000 into the companies in exchange for equity.

Two non-profits that will not get funding were also chosen to participate in the incubator program, which will be run by Dave McClure of Founders Fund.

The incubator program will operate out of one of Facebook's Palo Alto offices from mid-June to the end of August, at which point all of the startups will present to Silicon Valley angel and venture capital investors.

According to Facebook's Web site, the companies and nonprofits selected include:

  • 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 more than 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 and PC. Play with up to eight 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 them out on the Webon 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 their 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.


  • 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 Facebook 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. Their mission is to bring student loans to the developing world through the power of person-to-person microlending.

Email Patrick Hoge at phoge@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4949

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director
Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Room E167J
919-923-7113 mobile

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- Weekly Education Series - www.dukeDEES.com
- Connect with Duke Entrepreneurs - www.dukegen.com
- Find a startup - www.startupmatchmaker.blogspot.com
- Duke Start-Up Challenge - www.dukestartupchallenge.org
- Entrepreneurship Week - www.eweekatduke.com
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- Resources from Intuit at http://smallbusinessunited.com (advert)
- Learn VC - www.learnvc.com (advertisement)

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