FbStart is a global startup program from Facebook designed to help developers build and grow their products. FbStart members receive free tools and services, support, training and year-round opportunities to connect directly with the Facebook team for technical and professional mentorship. FbStart members also receive a custom package of exclusive discounts from dozens of Facebook partners, including companies such as Amazon, Dropbox, Stripe and MailChimp. Messenger platform and native mobile app developers can apply to join the program at FbStart.com.
What will I receive?
As an FbStart member, you'll receive these free offerings:
Tools -free package of tools and services valuing up to $80,000 (Accelerate track) or $40,000 (Bootstrap track) from Facebook and dozens of third-party partners including Amazon, Dropbox, MailChimp, Salesforce, Stripe, and UserTesting.
Support -throughout the year you can connect with product managers, engineers, partnerships, and operations during events, office hours, webinars, email and more.
Community -meet others in the startup community through our online community tools, meetups and events. You'll also gain access to Workplace for FbStart (coming soon), which will enable you to communicate with Facebook and fellow members.
Why is Facebook offering this program?
Facebook believes that in order to accomplish our mission to make the world a more open and connected place that we need to invest in the people and businesses that help drive innovation. We want to help startups succeed, and together build a more thriving developer ecosystem.
Who is eligible for FbStart?
We accept developers with live Messenger platform bots, mobile apps, as well as startups with referral codes from our VC, accelerator, university, and hackathon partners. We offer two tracks for developers at different stages of growth:
Bootstrap track: Any developer who's launched a quality, working bot in Messenger or native mobile app in the Google Play or Apple app stores
Accelerate track: Any developer who's launched a working bot in Messenger or native mobile app in the Apple or Google Play app stores and has seen a sustained level of growth in their target markets
You must have a registered Facebook app ID and Facebook developer account in order to join FbStart, but you do not need to have Facebook products integrated into your app in order to be accepted into the program.
What if my bot is not built on Messenger platform?
Do Messenger bot developers get the same benefits as a mobile developer?
Yes. Any member that is accepted into the Bootstrap or Accelerate track receives the full scope of benefits.
Who is eligible for the Social Good and Games packages?
While anyone can apply for the Social Good or Games packages as part of the application process, we will evaluate applicants for these packages by a set of factors to ensure they develop products for social good or are building mobile games. For Social Good, we evaluate the social problem you are trying to solve, the countries your startup services, and any corresponding legal identifier indicating nonprofit or social good status. For games developers, we evaluate if your app is listed as a game in the iOS and/or Android app stores.
What if I don't have a mobile app or bot?
If your mobile app is not yet live, you'll need to apply with a referral code. We work with a number of organizations — investors, accelerators, universities, etc. — that have close ties to high-quality startups. We provide these organizations with referral codes they can distribute to startups that have yet to launch an app but want to join our program. This ensures that only quality applicants are admitted to the program If you don't currently have a working mobile app or bot, please consider applying for the program once you do. If you are planning to launch one soon and work with a venture capital partner or accelerator, please reach out to them and see if they have a referral code. In the meantime, we encourage you to check out Facebook's developer site for additional information on all available products.
How long do I stay in the program?
Many of the benefits expire after a year. Even after benefits expire, startups will still be enrolled in the program and able to access mentorship and community opportunities. We also occasionally extend new benefits over time, which members will be able to access even if their first set of benefits have expired. We periodically audit our members to see if they continue to meet the eligibility requirements (e.g. have a functioning app on Google Play or Apple App Store).
Can developers graduate from one track (e.g. Bootstrap) to another? (e.g. Accelerate)
Yes, it's possible to graduate from one track to another. We currently do this on an annual basis, and hundreds of Bootstrap companies were upgraded to Accelerate this year.
What if I have a question and need to reach someone at Facebook?
FbStart applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.
When will I hear back once I submit my application?
We're committed to reviewing your application and getting back to you within 14 business days.
How do I apply for FbStart?
Apply directly here.You'll need to fill out a short application form with your company and app information. We'll respond to you within two weeks.
What's the difference between the Bootstrap track and the Accelerate track?
For mobile apps and bots that are early-stage startups or have just launched, the Bootstrap track is the best fit. Bootstrap is also best for apps that have yet to reach sustained growth over time. The Accelerate track is focused on helping startups that are more established, but are also fairly early in their lifecycle and can demonstrate that they have the potential for continued growth. There are significantly fewer spaces available in the Accelerate track and the qualification requirements are more rigorous.
How do you decide which startups are chosen for which track?
If you have not yet launched an app or bot, you'll be asked for a referral code from one of our trusted partners to qualify for the Bootstrap track, though this doesn't necessarily guarantee admission. Live apps and bots will be evaluated based on a number of factors, including — but not limited to — their size, growth, quality, engagement and funding. For the Bootstrap track, we'll be looking for high-quality apps and bots that are policy compliant and offer an engaging user experience. For Accelerate, we'll be looking beyond this for startups that have had a sustained period of growth and engagement as well as international success. All apps and bots will be reviewed by Facebook, and you'll receive a notification if you are admitted to any track.
I don't have a referral code. How do I get one?
If you're backed by or associated with an organization that invests in or works with startups, reach out to them and see if they have a referral code. We've been working hard to expand the number and types of organizations we work with. We are look at companies based in all regions, not just North America. If your organization does not have a referral code, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered as an FbStart partner.
I represent an organization that invests in or works directly with mobile startups. How can I partner with FbStart?
Please email email@example.com with a description of your organization and how you work with startups. Include information on the number of startups, the regional focus (if any), and the types of startups (mobile, web, etc.) you work with. Someone from our Partnerships team will respond within two weeks.
What's the difference between the tracks (Bootstrap, Accelerate) and the packages (Social Good, Games)?
All accepted FbStart members are placed into the track most relevant for their stage of development as determined by size, growth, quality, and engagement, among other factors we evaluate. Once accepted into a track, you will receive a set of free tools and services meant to serve your app development and growth needs. The packages we offer are add-on benefits and mentorship opportunities for specific types of developers — namely, social good and games. These developers will receive all benefits associated with one of our tracks (bootstrap and accelerate), but also have the chance to take advantage of additional resources provided through the packages that better serve their individual needs.
If I have more than one app that I'd like to be considered for FbStart, can I apply with both?
Yes, of course. Just be sure to prioritize your apps in your application and list your most engaging and successful apps first. Only one app will be selected for inclusion in the program, and you'll only receive one set of benefits even if both qualify.
What if more than one of my apps qualifies for FbStart?
Your company is approved as a whole, rather than your individual apps. So while you can submit several apps for consideration, only one app per company will be accepted to FbStart, and you'll only receive one set of benefits.
Why do you need to know my funding information?
While funding information alone is not a primary consideration for qualification to FbStart, it does help provide a signal on the health of your business. We also need to determine whether your company is privately held, and whether its size makes you eligible for the program.
How can I check my application status?
You will receive an email notifying you of your application status within 14 days of applying. If you want to check on your application, visit developers.facebook.com/fbstart after applying and click on the “Apply” button. Upon final review, we will post the status of your application on your dashboard.