Hooray! Along with 18 companies and one other non-profit, Samasource was chosen to participate in fbFund’s incubator program this summer. Check out the full list of winners on VentureBeat or InsideFacebook.
What this means is that we’ll have Palo Alto office space, lots of media attention, an official Facebook seal of approval, and possibly free lunches /crossfingers. The catch?
Due to the way fbFund is structured, the non-profit startups cannot receive funding (Facebook dev blog).
Samasource’s Facebook product will allow developers to create work opportunities for underprivileged workers by setting up periodic testing for their active applications. With Samasource, developers lower costs, reduce poverty, and improve their applications. Being chosen as a fbFund winner, despite not entailing cash, is extremely significant. Samasource, along with Vittana, the other non-profit winner, is poised to be a frontrunner of social entrepreneurship within the Facebook ecosystem. Being able to work with Facebook officially should greatly increase product quality, market penetration, and overall social impact. Samasource also will provide a valuable service to application developers, so I have high hopes for the success of this project.
Now a quick word about changes within fbFund. Previously the fund awarded grants to the winners, but this year the funding is in the form of an equity investment (more coverage here). This makes sense, and I think it’s a reasonable change. It does put the non-profits in an awkward spot, but I believe that’s just growing pains. Two non-profits were chosen this year, and that’s a big deal. Optimism tells me that social entrepreneurship will hold a much more prominent position in the years to come. Exciting things are happening in the world of social change, and Samasource is fortunate enough to be able to make an impact in a high-visibility environment. We will not disappoint.