At the Techcrunch40 conference in San Francisco yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, announced a $10 million fund, called fbFund, for programmers who develop applications that run on the social-networking site. Grants of $25,000 to $250,000, paid for by the Founders Fund and Accel Partners, will go to developers who create “innovative and disruptive” Facebook applications, says Zuckerberg. The announcement comes two months after Bay Partners, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, set aside millions of dollars to fund Facebook developers.
In May of this year, Facebook opened its doors to developers who wanted to create programs that the site’s users could download and put in their profiles. The programs–there are thousands of them–range from the useful (an application to send video messages) to the inane (a game in which you tag your friends as virtual zombies). Since May, writing Facebook applications has become big business (see “Building onto Facebook’s Platform”). And even professors at Stanford seem to think that all of this is important: the university is now offering a course in how to build applications for the site.