Facebook’s start-ups strut their stuff
Facebook opened its doors to venture capitalists on Tuesday.******The world’s largest social media company, which landed $200 million in funding in May, wasn’t trying to drum up any more cash for itself.******Instead, it was promoting a couple dozen start-up companies that leverage its technology and could further the strategy of making Facebook a key building block for Internet businesses and services.******The start-ups were selected by Facebook earlier this year through fbFund, a joint venture between Facebook, Accel and Founders Fund that provides seed funding (typically between $15,000 and $75,000 per start-up) to Facebook application developers.******The start-ups toiled through the summer in Facebook’s erstwhile Palo Alto, California headquarters and Tuesday was show-time: a chance to show off their progress and, they hoped, secure a more substantial chunk of funding from the VCs assembled.******Unlike traditional Facebook applications, such as games that run directly within the Facebook Web site, many of the products showcased on Tuesday were stand-alone Web sites that tap into a Web surfer’s network of Facebook friends using the Facebook Connect service.******Thread.com, an online dating site, allows people to cull through their Facebook friends’ friends, searching for say, single women in a certain age group, and to contact a prospective date via a trusted friend.******Another start-up, Sociable, provides a service that it said can boost sales for online retailers by integrating transactions with Facebook. The company said it was already generating revenue and that concert-promoter LiveNation is a customer.******According to Founders Fund’s Dave McClure, who organized Tuesday’s event, five fbFund companies are already break-even or profitable, and another three expect to get there by the end of the year – no small feat given the rough economy.******Facebook will need more such success stories as it seeks to transform its own company from the Web’s top social networking destination into the underlying social fabric of all Web sites.