Live Notes from Facebook’s fbFund REV Demo Day in Palo Alto
Facebook’s fbFund REV summer incubator program, led by Dave McClure, wraps up this afternoon with Demo Day, and Inside Facebook is here and live blogging from the event.
This summer, Facebook, Founders Fund, and Accel Partners selected 20 social startups and made joint equity investments totaling over $500,000 dollars. Over the past couple months, we sat down with Navify, Weardrobe, Networked Blogs, Frintro (now Thread), Samasource, NutshellMail, Funji, RunThere, and Life360 – and in a little bit, these teams will give their investor demo day presentations. Stay tuned for updates throughout the afternoon!
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, gives welcome remarks: Facebook is becoming an increasingly social platform, beginning with Facebook Platform, Facebook Connect, and now this summer’s fbFund REV summer incubator program. Our goal with the fbFund REV was to revolutionize industries. Three finalists raised more than $350,000, some reached profitability, and Thread raised $1.2 million in seed capital.
Thread helps people find friends of friends to date. The problem with online dating is that it’s inauthentic, risky, and has low success rates. Our solution is to use Facebook Connect to get authentic rich profiles and get trusted introductions from friends, so Thread has the potential for higher conversion rates. CEO Brian Phillips’s 275 Facebook friends on Thread translate to over 90,000 friends of friends on Facebook, allowing us to leverage the secondary social graph.
Funji is a virtual community for iPhone. For the 200 million Generation Me users, the future is mobile. Teens are restricted in real life, but in virtual communities, they can freely express themselves by creating avatars and rooms and building social status. Users earn points through their activities on Funji and through external apps. We’ve raised $115,000 and are looking for $500,000 in additional funding.
Sociable: Retailers today aren’t driving significant sales from social media. Friends and family recommendations are the #1 source of influencing consumer decisions. Users can share purchases by publishing stories back to Facebook, which increases sales by 0.25 percent and drive traffic to third-party breakeven sites. Our solution also leverages other platforms, including Twitter, further increasing traffic. Travel and retail are examples of industries that are social and have large market sizes. We’re projecting to breakeven by the end of the year. Seeking $1 million.
GeckoGo: Seventy percent of people are dissatisfied with online travel. There’s too much online travel content out there. We aggregate travel content from social networks, create simple travel snapshots, and distribute this information on popular travel sites. The snapshot provides information on how many of a user’s Facebook friends have been to certain places. We’re different because we’re the only one at the intersection of travel aggregation and social. Seeking $500,000.
Friend Radio: Music players are boring. Current algorithms only know users’ music preferences based on music they’ve already played. The Favorite Music category on the Facebook profile has been taunting me. We publish songs to the Facebook News Feed. Friends can follow other friends. Facebook Page admins can also publish songs to their Walls. In 2 months, we’re now at 20,000 MAU.
PhotosILove: Two things our users want to do: 1) strengthen old relationships, and 2) rekindle old relationships. Relationships need to be acknowledged. We’re monetizing via banner advertising, points, subscriptions, but the key will be generating quality content. Seeking $500,000.
Vittana: We’re Kiva for student loans. We make it possible for you to loan to students in the developing world. The loans we make range from $500 to $1,500 and range from six to 24 months in length. Currently, the #1 profession is bank teller, and we operate in Peru, Paraguay, Mongolia, and Nicaragua. We’ve already raised $230,000. Seeking $25,000 to $50,000.
Workstir is a trusted place to find jobs. Think yellow pages plus your social graph. Right now we’re focusing on small local jobs.
Backlight.org: Everything in this world has a backstory, and when you know that story, sharing becomes more meaningful. At Backlight, we have a simple formula: a creation (some digital asset) + story = a piece of inspiration. We’re a for-profit venture that aims to fill the gap between digital content and inspiration. Our beta partners are Stanford, Santa Clara University, and Berkeley. Seeking $100,000.
NetworkedBlogs: On average, your blog sucks. The bottom 98 percent of blogs have an average of three page views per day. We’re the largest news community on Facebook. We’re profitable; grew revenue by 50 percent in the last two months. Seeking $250,000.
Wildfire is a self-service platform for social media marketers to launch campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and newsletter subscribers. We’re profitable. Clients include Pepsi, Zappos, Sony, Universal, Gatorade, etc. This month, we reached over $100,000 in revenues. In 2008, over $12 billion was spent on online promotions, projected to triple in the next five years. Seeking $250,000 to $500,000.
Nutshell Mail helps you manage your social networking activities through email. Most of our users receive three digests per day; they open these digests 60 percent of the time; 70 percent of users who signup are using it a month later. A “Social Groups” feature is coming soon to allow you to filter and track your top friends’ activities. Raised $600,000, with the next round of financing targeted for Q2 of 2010.
Interactive Gift (GroupCard) has 850,000 users and 200,000 active users; and we’re profitable. Now we’re launching Cash.io, a B2C platform that allows businesses to issue codes that allow users to redeem customer incentives (e.g., rebates) however they want. The incentives market is $400 billion. A business can fulfill a rebate online on Facebook, use codes to fulfill winners of promotions winners through Twitter, and send customer incentives via Salesforce. Seeking $1.5 million.
Gameyola is a flash platform to help monetize and distribute their games on social networks like Facebook. Flash games generate a huge audience, but little revenue. The key to the success of social gaming companies is a combination of virality plus virtual goods. We’re starting to sell virtual goods on our site. Raising $500,000 to $1 million.
RunMyErrand outsources your to do list to a trusted network: 1) post your errand, 2) trusted individuals are alerted, 3) errand completed. Closed $150,000 from early stage investors in Zipcar. Seeking $500,000 to $750,000.
Samasource leverages technology to create jobs for women, youth, and marginalized people living below the poverty line. Since September 2008, Samasource has created jobs for 517 workers in six countries and generated $220,000 in sales for 18 service partners. Seeking $100,000 in the next two months.
MyChurch is a social network for churches. Between Sundays, it’s hard to keep churchgoers engaged. There are 300,000 churches in the U.S., and 10 percent are on MyChurch. Churches collect $90 billion a year. We’re now experimenting with subscriptions, charging $25 to $100 per month. We’re excited about the potential of online donations. By the end of the year, we’re projected to breakeven. Seeking $100,000 to $200,000.
RunThere: In the U.S., there are 36 million runners and 45 million bikers. Running and biking are social activities. For any run that is logged in our system, you can view the route in 3D via Google Earth. We plan to monetize by targeting the personal trainer marketplace, corporate wellness, and affiliate marketing. Seeking $250,000 for the next 12 months.
Zimride builds private social networks to help facilitate carpool matches and has an exclusive partnership with Zipcar. We have $180,000 in annually recurring revenue from 32 clients and will be breakeven in one month. Seeking $1 million.
Sortuv allows users to search for and discover information that is often hard to describe. Seeking to look for partnerships.
Life 360‘s goal is to become the place you go to manage your family’s safety and security. Our conversion rate is over 25 percent. Seeking to raise $500,000.
RentMineOnline is a social lead generation platform and has been profitable for five months. Seeking $750,000.
Over 20 social startups gave their pitches this afternoon and will be celebrating the conclusion of this year’s fbFund REV summer incubator program later this evening. We wish all of this year’s entrepreneurs continued success!