Facebook on Tuesday launched FB Start, a new programme designed to help early stage mobile startups in India. FB Start provides startups with exclusive community access, worldwide events, mentorship and up to $80,000 worth of free tools and services.
Ime Archibong, director of strategic partnerships at Facebook, said, “Outside the US, India continues to be a highly important region for Facebook. Of the $50 million in benefits distributed to Asia Pacific startups through FB Start since 2014, more than $21 million went to startups in India.”
Archibong added that more than 70% of Facebook developers were located outside the US and more developers were building apps with Facebook in India than any other country outside the US.
“More than 75% of top-grossing apps in India are integrated with Facebook. Through internet.org, we envisage to connect millions of people who are still not connected to the Internet in India and around the world. There is a huge opportunity for mobile developers to build some of the first experiences people have with the internet,” he said.
Some of the beneficiary companies include Delhi-based app Cardback, and Hyderabad’s Samosa that offers a curated collection of clips from popular movies.
Facebook has more than 1,000 members as part of the FB Start programme and it has held events in London, New York, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Seoul and Taipei. In India, it is hosting these events in Bangalore and Gurgaon.
Archibong said that as Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and messenger services become more and more integrated around the world, the developer and entrepreneur ecosystem would follow suit.