Facebook funds 25 innovative apps

Innovative Facebook apps get $25,000 cash rewards
Innovative Facebook apps get $25,000 cash rewards

Two dozen software developers are $25,000 (£14,400) richer today, thanks to Facebook's fbFund.

The programme aims to stimulate innovation by handing wodges of wonga to entrepreneurs creating exciting new apps for Facebook, or elsewhere on the web using Facebook Connect.

The 25 developers could spend their no-strings-attached money on takeway pizza and mint Star Wars figurines but then they'd miss the chance of a further $225,000 (£130,000), which were awarded to five of the best in December.

The applications are a varied bunch - you can see them all on Facebook here - but we have some favourites. BarTab allows you to send real drinks as gifts to your friend for just $1 (57p), as vouchers that are redeemable at local pubs, while Bottle Rocket lets you share your favourite wines with friends and receive personalised recommendations.

Not just booze

TrailBehind is a hiking app that promises collaborative maps, Wildfire will keep you to date with competitions and giveaways, and Newsbrane aims to simplify the process of simply keeping up with daily events.

Two educational apps should prove popular. Koofers is a student resource to share essays and old tests, rate teachers and institutions, but certainly not for copying homework, oh no. From the other side, Teach the People is educational platform where teachers can "monetize their knowledge" with lessons that are open to all.

The $10 million (£5.7 million) fbFund was founded in 2007 and selected these applications from the over 600 submitted. From now through early November, each recipient will build and submit their final applications and create a video showcasing their work.

As round two kicks off, users will have the chance to try these applications, watch the videos and vote for their favourites. Final judging of round two will factor in user voting, as well as input from Facebook, and venture capitalists. Once round two closes in December, Facebook will announce five winners who will receive up to $225,000 in non-recourse grants.

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.