I’m here at the demo day for fbFund REV, Facebook’s new incubator program that’s jointly put on by Accel Partners and Founders Fund. We’ve embedded a live stream of the event below, and I’ll be updating with notes on each company that presents. Also be sure to check out our post from last night, when we took a look at fbFund’s first session as an incubator (versus just a distributor of cash grants), as well as some of the talks given by fbFund’s mentors.
Thread.com — Thread.com helps users on Facebook meet possible matches for dating using Facebook. Rather than revolving around meeting strangers, the site allows you to browse through singles who are friends with your friends. You can see our full introduction to the site here.
Funji — A community for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The company is targeting “Generation ME” age 13-21 with a virtual world that allows users to customize their own virtual room and avatars. Users can interact in a forum and check out their friends’ rooms. Everything looks very colorful and playful, which could help it catch on with the youth audience.
Sociable says that retailers are not driving significant sales from social media (e.g. from Facebook and Twitter). The company says brands need to evolve from B2C communication, to word of mouth, C2C conversations. Sociable tries to optimize the retailer’s “viral loop” through a variety of ways, including syndicating events published to Facebook to other Facebook Connect-enabeld sites. The service is currently live on every concert page on LiveNation and plans to expand to other verticals. Projects to break even by the end of the year.
Geckogo brings user generated content from social travel sites and brings them to more traditional travel portals. The service can take content from services like Facebook and Twitter, and then bring them to sites like Travelocity or Expedia in embeddable widgets.
FriendRadio brings an integrated music player to Facebook in a interesting way. Rather than just embed music players into the site, users can use FriendRadio to create a nifty music player that resides tucked at the side of the screen as you browse Facebook. The company is building a browser plugin to bring music to Facebook profile pages as well (you’ll see your friends’ music when you visit their profile).
photosilove is a media sharing app that users use to send bite-sized media to show their friends that they care about each other — things like small images of teddy bears, or a frog holding a sign that says “I care”. The app didn’t originally plan to focus on this kind of friendly sharing, but it’s what their users tended to use it for. At this point the startup hasn’t done much in terms of monetization, but the company points out how many large companies are successfully tapping into this market.
Vittana.org is “Kiva for student loans”. One of two non-profits in this round of fbFund. Loans are 6-24 months in length, $500-1500 in total amounts. Bank teller is currently the top profession. The company says that until the student loan model is proven, other organizations are hesitant to do it. Says that for every $800 loan, the student will earn $20k more in incremental income over their lifetime.
Workstir is “yellow pages, plus your social graph”. It helps connect you with service professionals (say, a painter) and see what your friends, or friends of friends think of them by tapping into your social graph. It uses a similar connection to model to what you’ll see on LinkedIn. To generate revenue, the company will allow service professionals to advertise on their key pages. It will also allow service professionals to join the site and answer questions posted by other users — the more questions the professionals answer, the higher their rank on Workstir.
Backlight — Everything has a backstory, but where can you share that online? The company says that there’s an opportunity for “Inspirational content”. Points out success of brands like Chicken Soup for the Soul and Causes. Says Twitter is great for sharing, identity creation, but they don’t offer a platform for inspiration/meaning. Backlight allows you to upload any piece of media and provide a backstory, including ability to take photos on Facebook and add another layer of meaning to it. Working with Stanford, Cal, Santa Clara University to help showcase student work.
NetworkedBlogs — Connect bloggers with readers who are on social networks. “On average, your blog sucks” — the bottom 98% of blogs have average of 3 page views a day. But when you build a blog, it’s what people find when they Google your name, so you need to make it look like someone is reading it. The service lets you syndicate your blog to Facebook, to embed social widgets into your blog, and more. The service already has 1.5 million installs, 650k monthly actives, and is the largest news community on Facebook. The site aggregates 100,000 blog posts a day. On Facebook, you can see which of your friends are following certain blogs, which of your friends are writing blogs, and so on. The company is profitable, grew revenue by 50% in the last two months. Today the company is announcing a partnership with Webs.com.
Wildfire is a powerful self-service platform that allows companies to create social marketing campaigns for Facebook, Twitter, and their company websites. The company left private beta last month, and is profitable. Clients have included 3M, Facebook, and Pepsi. The platform helps companies who are looking to engage social network users using proven campaign formats (the service offers wizards that companies can use to create their campaigns). Companies can get the campaign started though advertising, and they generally continue to grow through viral channels.
NutshellMail is a service that compiles your social networking activity into a single digest it and sends it to your Email inbox. The service also allows you to interact with Facebook and Twitter through your Email. NutshellMail lets you monitor what people are saying about you on Twitter and see your new friend requests, messages, and birthdays from Facebook, among other things. To respond to one of these messages or tweets, you just reply to the message and Nutshellmail will put an update on your behalf. Most people get 3 digests per day, and it has 60% engagement. 70% of the people who sign up are using it 30 days later. In the future, the company plans to offer social groups so you can specify certain groups of friends and keep track of them using your Email.
GroupCard and Cash.io. GroupCard is the largest platform for collaborative gifts and cards, and is profitable and used in thousands of offices. Today they’re launching Cash.io. The company says it costs money for businesses to send consumers rebates. Cash.io is a platform that lets businesses issue codes that consumers redeem however they want. It uses PayPal, Amazon, and Facebook Payments in the future (maybe). Customers can fulfill rebates on services like Facebook. Businesses will be able to issue payment codes over Twitter.
Gameyola is looking to help monetize and distribute Flash games over social networks. It’s looking to help social distribution on Facebook, and monetization through virtual goods. The company offers a unified payment currency called Gameyola coins. Has 180,000 players, and has started selling virtual goods on its site.
RunMyErrand is a service that lets you outsource everyday tasks that you don’t have time for (shop at target, return Cable box, and more). The company is working with Coldstone creamery in Boston, giving them a way to outsource delivery in Boston. Once you post an errand, a trusted runner network is alerted. Have retirees, stay-at-home-moms, dog walkers, young professionals running these errands to supplement income. So how does RunMyErrand establish trust? They have user ratings, and 100% background checked. Everything is social-graph aware. Trust is obviously going to be hard to establish with users, but if they can get over that hurdle I could see this becoming quite useful. Revenue model is to take cut of reimbursements and fees charged by runners.
samasource is a non-profit service that allows you to outsource microwork tasks like data, testing, transcription and research to poor, but educated, workers abroad — it’s a Kiva for small work tasks. Clients so far include Google, YPO, Benetech, and Dolores Labs. For example, a young man (one of the Lost Boys of Sudan) was denied formal employment in Kenya, but was able to earn money by working for US company Dolores Labs through samasource. There is a screening process to ensure that workers will be able to handle the work you have to offer. Because you’re doing this through Facebook, you can more personally connect with the people you hire..
MyChurch is a service that helps churches build their own social networks, and lets them connect via Facebook. The site has 30,000 churches signed up (out of around 300,000) in the US. If they can map out everyone’s church social network, they become the de facto church social network. Previously monetized through ads, now they’re trying to sell subscriptions to churches with higher quotas, no ads, and new features (custom URL for MyChurch page). Lots of churches are using myChurch page for official website. Close to break even under freemium model. But the site also hopes to make money though online donations to church.
RunThere is a social community for runners and bikers. You can map out your run, look at routes that other users have created, and embed maps of these on your blog. You can also track your route using Google Earth. The site can also help build a blog with meta data about your runs. The site plans to make money by offering a tool for personal trainers. Trainers can use the app to help keep clients motivated, keep track of their progress.
Zimride is a service that helps companies and universities create communities for carpooling. Users log in (you can use Facebook Connect to verify that you belong to a certain company or University), then indicate where they’re loking to go and the date. The service then matches users so that they can share the cost of the drive. The company has a partnership with Zipcar, has $180k in recurring revenue and will be break-even by the end of the quarter. For more, check out our post on the startup here, when it described it as a “carpooling startup that actually makes money”.
Sortuv helps you find things that are “sort of” like something else. Enter a restaurant and the site will present other restaurants that are similar. The company isn’t just about local search — if you like a kind of char, you can search for places with a similar kind of design. The startup has an iPhone app that lets you rate what you like, and it will suggest similar matches. Can analyze your status updates, use the things you talk about (like bands, video games, and movies) to help build your Sortuv profile.
Life360 is looking to become a place for you to manage family safety and security. The company previously won 300k from Google in Android developer challenge and will be launching soon. The site allows you to track family and pets on a map, recover lost items like phones, and help protect your identity. It can help streamline signup for security services in a matter of seconds (services that had previously been standalone). The company integrates multiple third party services into a single control panel.
RentMineOnline is a service that helps property managers handle churn and the associated costs. The company has been profitable for five months. The company works with individual property managers, messaging residents once per quarter with an Email that lets them refer the property they’re currently living at to friends. Traditionally property managers have paid residents for referrals, often posting physical notes on their door handles — now RentMineOnline will be able to step in and streamline the process while taking in some of this money.
Broadcasting Live with Ustream.TV
Crunch Network: MobileCrunch Mobile Gadgets and Applications, Delivered Daily.
TechCrunch50 Conference 2009
: September 14-15, 2009, San Francisco