As of May 2016, India became one of the largest Facebook user bases across the world with over 195 million registered users. Since its inception, this social networking site has been growing in leaps and bounds and its popularity remains unrivalled. Considering the fact that Facebook is increasingly being used by mobile internet users in the countries in which it has a major presence, the tech giant has been partnering with mobile application developers over the past few years. It has also been actively promoting startups that use Facebook as a platform to promote and advertise their services across the web. A number of applications now allow its users to connect through Facebook, to post messages to the site, and even use Facebook to access their preferences and data.
What is FbStart?
In 2014, F8 developer conference, Facebook launched its program aimed at encouraging mobile device based startup around the world in an attempt to help build and grow their applications. This program is called the FBStart. With this launch, Facebook promised over USD 40,000 worth of free products and services to selected app developers. With its two tracks – Bootstrap Track and Accelerate Track, Facebook offers aid and assistance to new developers and entrepreneurs through a number of its partners such as Parse, CreativeCloud, Adobe, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Hootsuite, Braintree, and Stripe. Facebook offers its FbStart aid only to applications already available at the Google Play (Android app store) or the iOS App Store (for over 30 days). By 2015, FbStart was also accepting apps in its Prelaunch Track, which means startups which had not launched an application yet and the benefits on offer had gone up to USD 80,000 worth of tools and benefits.
Making its way into India
Apart from the United States, India is the largest market for Facebook’s startup support programme, FbStart. According to the tech giant’s product partnerships team, it looks likely that about 75 percent of the top applications in the country (in terms of gross earnings) will soon be integrated with Facebook. Even by August 2015 Indian application developers and entrepreneurs were reportedly claiming benefits worth USD 20 million (approximately INR 128 crore) from the FbStart programme. India’s mobile penetration and its promising tech application development potential make India one of the largest markets that Facebook can find. Some 70 percent of application developers are located outside the US and a great number of these are Indians. Here are some of the startup enterprises that have been selected by Facebook to take advantage of the FbStart programme.
Indian startups chosen by FbStart
CloutLoot – CloutLoot became one of India’s recent startup enterprises to be selected for FbSelect’s mentorship and benefits programme. CloudLoot is an end-to-end fashion application that focuses on re-commerce or sale of pre-owned fashion products (re-commerce). Apart from receiving access to over 25 free tools and services, Cloutloot will also receive the mentorship of Facebook’s engineering teams. The programme is likely to provide a big boost to CloutLoot, said its founders.
Partiko – Partiko was founded in 2014 by Amanjot Malhotra (an IIT Roorkee aluminus) along wih Gaurav Saini, a techie previously employed with PayTm, the mobile wallet. The Delhi based event discovery application, Partiko allows its users to discover social events such as parties and music performances through their application. The Partiko app is integrated with Whatsapp (recently integrated with Facebook). It allows users to personalize their feeds and to save favorites.
Flicksup – In the age of movies, music, reality shows, and television series, Bangalore based startup Flicksup aims at creating a community of fan followers. Viewers can connect, hold discussions, write reviews, and follow their favorite shows through this social network. Flicksup was founded by three IIT alumni – Siddharth Maheshwari and Tarun Valecha (IIT Roorkee) and Pawan Nagwani (IIT Bombay) and was among the Indian companies selected for FbStart’s benefits and mentorship.
Healofy – Healofy is a Bangalore based health app allowing peer to peer interactions between mothers and mothers-to-be. In a country like India where pregnant women are largely cared for by women of the household, it becomes increasingly important that women, especially in the rural regions, find a platform for interaction and sharing experience. Health apps are making a strong appearance in India and FbStart chose Healofy for its support programme.
Videovibe – Videovibe was founded in 2016. It focuses on bringing together a community of video enthusiasts and digital marketers who use YouTube as a platform for content marketing and advertising. Videovibe, founded by Elisha Priyadarshini and R Ranjan Sahoo, allows its users to compile data related to YouTube videos such as number of views and likes, demographics of the viewers and track the progress of a video after posting it.
Knudge.me – Taking e-learning to the next level is Knudge.me, an educative application that allows its users to enrol in various courses and to learn in a friendly manner. It allows users to unlock new learning content (based on their courses) and play games that involve the educational content. Apart from language and math based courses, the application offers many specialized learning bytes such as grammar, pronunciation, and phonology.
MyChild – MyChild is another health application that enrolled in the FbSelect programme last year. The app creates awareness among parents of very young children about developmental milestones and disorders. It was launched by Harsh Songra from Bhopal in January 2015. The app has helped parents from across the world gain awareness of developmental delays and disorders. While not intending to replace a clinical diagnosis, the app should be used as a reference for parents before approaching a physician.
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