Facebook is throwing its marketing and PR weight behind a new competition to find and invest in the best young mobile app entrepreneurs in Europe. ‘The Big App 2014‘, underpinned by Worth Capital’s new ‘Big App Fund’, which itself is currently equity-crowdfunding on Seedrs, is open to app entrepreneurs aged 18-35 with a retail or e-commerce-focussed app, from anywhere in Europe.
As well as helping to spread the word, Facebook’s main role will be as part of the judging lineup, while the two related pitching events will be held at the company’s London HQ. Despite headlines to the contrary, it isn’t putting up any of the “prize” money, which consists of a potential equity-based investment from the associated ‘Big App Fund’ that should see the winner and two runners up receive an investment of £150,000 and £100,000, respectively.
In return, each startup will be asked to give up between 10 and 30 per cent equity, depending the app’s current performance and potential, though my understanding is that this is negotiable and subject to typical due diligence.
Due to the equity-crowdfunding nature of the competition’s underpinning fund, it should also be noted that part of any investment — 7.5 per cent — will be lost to Seedrs’ standard fees, though these aren’t necessarily outside the ball park for the legal and administration costs typically associated with a seed investment of this size.
Perhaps as noteworthy as Facebook’s PR and marketing involvement — well-timed, perhaps, considering it’s currently under scrutiny from European regulators — is that armchair investors can get in on the action by investing in the ‘Big App Fund’ via Seedrs.
Run by Worth Capital, who have done the equity-crowdfunding thing before, it’s seeking to raise the £350,000 that will be invested in the ‘The Big App 2014’ winners. At the time of publication, the campaign has nearly reached 50 per cent of that target already.
Meanwhile, if you’re a European app startup/entrepreneur in the retail or e-commerce space and want to apply, below is the competition schedule, including submission deadline.
“Big App” launch – Sept 3rd
Submissions close – Oct 6th
Top 100 event at Facebook’s London HQ – October 27th
Finalist pitch event at Facebook London HQ– November 17th
Winners Announced – November 18th