Facebook has just named the five winners of $225,000 cash grants from the second round of its fbFund, a joint venture between Facebook, Accel, and Founders Fund meant to cultivate and reward excellent applications on Facebook Platform. The winners: GroupCard, Kontagent, MouseHunt, Weddingbook, and Wildfire.
GroupCard – GroupCard allows users to create online cards that can be signed by an entire group of friends and then printed out. Users enter their messages, along with any photos they’d like to include, and then choose a font that mimics realistic handwriting. Once all of the messages have been compiled, users can have the card printed. The result resembles the group cards that are often passed around offices for birthdays, but can include friends and loved ones from around the globe. Printing options include large posters, photo books, and downloadable PDFs which users can print from their own computers.
Kontagent – Kontagent offers a powerful analytics platform for Facebook developers, offering far more metrics than Facebook’s own backend does. Included metrics include demographic information like user gender, user engagement times, and A/B testing. For our preview coverage of the site, check out the TechCrunchIT post here.
MouseHunt – A rich game that involves hunting mice. Though there are numerous games on Facebook, this one is much richer than most of them. Rather than using shady and irritating viral tactics to spread through the community, the game is relying on good word of mouth, and the results so far have been promising – the developers say that a whopping 40% of its users return on a daily basis.
Weddingbook – A social network within Facebook for couples looking to set their wedding plans. The site offers features meant to help each couple’s friends (who are informed of tentative plans and can help make suggestions), and also offers a section where couples who don’t necessarily know each other can offer tips and advice.
Wildfire – Allows companies to create their own branded promotions on Facebook with a minimal amount of effort (campaigns can also be simultaneously run on MySpace, Bebo, and standalone websites). Facebook’s consumer voting application used to vote on the application process was actually created by Wildfire (Facebook assures us they had no influence on the outcome).
fbFund was announced by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at last year’s TechCrunch40 conference. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg the company received over 600 applications within a month of opening this round to submissions. In October the company announced 25 finalists, each of which received $25,000 and was invited to showcase their applications today at Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters at an event attended by venture capitalists, Facebook executives, and members of the press.
Today’s winners were in part determined by voting that took place on Facebook, which received over 180,000 votes from 88,000 users worldwide. During the event’s keynote presentation, Sandberg emphasized the importance of Facebook Platform and its 670,000 developers to the social network, explaining that the company simply doesn’t have the resources to build enough features and applications to suit the site’s 130 million users.
Facebook also says that the third round of fbFund will be announced in early 2009.