Facebook Fund REV Graduation Day: Backlight, Thread and More

After a summer of hard work, Facebook’s 24 fbFund REV incubator companies presented their products to a room full of investors, entrepreneurs and journalists. Created by Accel Partners and Founders Fund, the fbFund REV program is meant to foster innovation and test the boundaries of app development on the Facebook platform. The groups have certainly come a long way from concept to creation, below are just a few of our favorites:

Backlight: Backlight is a community that allows members to share inspirational digital assets from across the web. The community puts art into context by illuminating upon it with a background narrative. Backlight offers a StumbleUpon-style bookmarklet, Facebook Connect integration through page updates and notes, and the group plans on developing a point-based credit system entitled “social currency.”

Thread: Thread is a tool that allows Facebook friends to leverage their social graphs and make romantic connections. Formerly Frinto, the company recently raised $1.2 million dollars from Sequoia Capital. It is perhaps best described as Linkedin for dating as friends search each others contacts and request introductions.

GeckoGo: GeckoGo is a tool that leverages Facebook data and pushes it back to sites like Expedia and Voyij. Users add their travel information to maps and travel wish lists, receive a snapshot of their destinations as well as a quick look at their friends who’ve also traveled to these locations.

FriendRadio: FriendRadio is a Facebook application that allows users to rank and listen to their friends’ music playlists. The tool lets you set favorites, vote on tracks and even assigns music matching scores – a music compatibility rank for your friends. The group is exploring revenue strategies including “song gifting” and the artist-to-fan appreciation model popularized by sites like Bandcamp and Topspin Media.

RentMineOnline: RentMineOnline is a resident referral program that offers property managers a chance to leverage social networks to secure better tenants. Managers create campaigns and pass the info on to their favorite residents. From here, residents distribute rental openings to their friends via Facebook Connect.

Given the nature of the Facebook platform, social startup presentations were no surprise; however, this year, the fund chose to work with 2 nonprofit organizations – Samasource and Vittana. Interestingly enough, both companies work to help individuals in developing countries.

Vittana: Vittana is best described as Kiva for student loans. While financial aid programs are well established in countries like Canada and the US, few programs exist for education in the developing world. Vittana offers 6-24 month student loans to students interested in pursuing advanced education. The project hopes to raise $650,000 in philanthropic venture donations. The majority of loans are awarded to vocational students and amounts range between $500 – $1500. Loan recipients are screened by on-the-ground microloan organizations and preference is given to students who are the children of microloan recipients. Visit Vittana for more information.

Samasource: In Sanskrit, Samasource means “equal”. The company works with men and women in developing countries to provide work-related activities via the internet. Similar to Mechanical Turk, Samasource connects corporations, nonprofit organizations and small businesses to complete “microwork” tasks. The group launched App Test early this morning before the fbFundREV demo. Available at Apps.Facebook/Samasource, the product allows Facebook application developers to outsource their QA testing to those in need. The company has helped more than 500 individuals in Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana and Pakistan. To find out more about this program, visit Samasource.

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