A Sign Of The Times: fbFund Shifts To Incubator Model

Earlier this week Facebook detailed some of the changes it is making to fbFund, its joint venture with Accel Partners and Founders Fund designed to help reward and foster the most encouraging applications on Facebook Platform, which launched 2007. In prior rounds, fbFund’s primary function was to distribute seed funding, with the last round’s 25 finalists taking home $25,000 and the final winners each receiving $225,000 cash grants.

Now the program is expanding to include a new Incubator Program (no doubt inspired by the likes of Y Combinator and TechStars), which will invite a few startups to interact with key Facebook personnel, as well as some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent entrepreneurs. Among the VCs and companies contributing their expertise to the program are First Round Capital, Tapulous, Zynga, Slide, and over a dozen other that can be found on this list. In addition, Facebook is also announcing today that Eric Ries will be taking part in the program.

Facebook will be accepting applications to the program, which is being led by Dave McClure, until April 20th. While it’s still unclear how many startups will be invited to participate in the Incubator program, they will be drawn from a pool of 50 finalists. The program will run from June through August.

Also interesting to note is that for this round winners can receive up to $100,000 in equity investment, while previous rounds have been ‘no strings attached’ – a change that may indicate, as VentureBeat notes, that Facebook and its partners may see the current round as being more lucrative than previous rounds (I also suspect, given the greater time investment involved with the new program, that they would like to see some kind of return).

For more details, check out Facebook’s blog post here.