Facebook has just announced the first five winners of $225,000 each in cash grants from the $10 million fbFund. The list was narrowed down from a list of 25 finalists chosen last month. No doubt this is very welcome to startups at a time when venture funding seems to be heading into hibernation, especially for still-unproven social-networking business models.
The winners, ranging from useful to silly, were chosen partly by a voting application on Facebook that received more than 180,000 votes from 88,000 members around the world:
* GroupCard - GroupCard lets users rally their friends to sign the same printable online card to celebrate any occasion. Each friend can add a message, upload photos or audio, and even make a gift contribution. GroupCard started at Stanford, and is already used by thousands of groups worldwide.
* Kontagent - Kontagent is the leading viral analytics platform for social network application developers. Kontagent analytics provides deep social data visualization and analysis that delivers actionable insights delivered via a hosted, on-demand service.
* MouseHunt - MouseHunt is a game of epic proportions. Players are hunters, hired by the king to trap mice that infest his kingdom. For each mouse caught, users will find a reward, bringing them closer to being the best MouseHunter in the land.
* Weddingbook - Weddingbook is a social network on Facebook for those preparing for a wedding. Brides and grooms meet on Weddingbook to get advice, support, and inspiration during their engagement and wedding planning process.
* Wildfire - Wildfire enables consumers to discover, share and engage with interactive promotions like contests, sweepstakes and giveaways and enables companies to easily create their own attractive, branded promotions that are automatically integrated with Facebook’s social features.