Last week at the TechCrunch40 conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced the new fbFund, a $10M financing fund aimed at supporting the Facebook ecosystem. The fund, backed by Accel and Founders Funds, will seed Facebook application development companies with grants between $25k and $250k. This is a monumental announcement on many levels, on one hand it affects the developers, on another the advertisers/marketers, and finally it affects Facebook itself.
The fact that Zuckerberg & co. are putting this kind of money up is an amazing testament to their faith in the creativity of the crowd and the fact they know that there are thousands of ideas they would never think to build on their own. This new fund will help reinforce the economy surrounding the FB platform, and alleviate a huge amount of risk that many startup could face if they try to get into the platform themselves. $25,000 goes a long way to pay for server infrastructure when your new widget gets a million or more users.
Ultimately what they have done is seeded their economy with the fertilizer necessary to add another $100 million to their stock valuation when they ultimately go public. They have given the necessary tool to their development community to build an ecosystem around them, much the way the eBay ecosystem works (just look at the ebay section of your bookstore for all the books on how to become rich using eBay).
So what does this mean to you, the social media enthusiast? It means that you should start writing a grant application for the platform. If you are awarded a grant, you can now afford to outsource your development and infrastructure on Facebook’s dime.
Rest assured I will be posting a lot more about this in the coming weeks.