With their latest partnership, Facebook’s getting serious about Startups in Europe

Nov 24, 2014
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Friends of social media company Facebook & Paris exclusive entrepreneurship circle TheFamily gathered at the latter’s headquarters last Thursday to share food, wine, and a brand new partnership announcement. Present at the event was Facebook’s French MD Laurent Solly & Facebook’s head of mobile partnerships in EMEA Julien Lesaicherre, the founders of TheFamily, as well as team members from Algolia & Pikichat, there as examples of how TheFamily’s members (who enter the circle in exchange for equity in their company) have been and will work with the Facebook Platform.

“Big on Mobile, Big on Facebook”

It was Lesaicherre who discussed the terms of the partnership, during which he talked about how Facebook’s success was dependent on members of its ecosystem succeeding – although, clearly, Facebook wanted to point that said relationship was reciprocal. In France, Lesaicherre pointed to RadeDJing, shopmium, Stupelfix, & Deezer as examples of key players who are big on Facebook, not to mention King.com (UK), Wiz (Israel) & Shazam (UK), three big European IPOs of the last few years. While Shazam owes its success more to being an early app developer on the Apple iPhone store, all three use heavy Facebook integration to make sign-up, login, sharing, and even cloud hosting (via Parse) easy.

Lesaicherre also noted that, for Blablacar’s expansion into Turkey earlier this year, the company had big success on Facebook – they allotted 70% of their marketing budget to Facebook for the expansion.

Partnership Details

Facebook’s partnership will provide two different levels of partnerships – Bootstrap and Accelerate – to the 100+ startups in TheFamily’s circle. For startups just getting started (Bootstrap), Facebook will provide $20,000 credits to users for Facebook tools, including up to $5,000 in Parse credits. For startups with a signficant existing user base, Facebook will provide $60,000 – including $20,000 in Parse credits – to TheFamily startups. In addition, for their highly successful education platform Koudetat, Facebook will supply TheFamily with a regular list of speakers – Oussama slyly suggested that Zuck might pass through TheFamily during his next Paris visit.

Facebook’s getting serious about Startups in Europe

This is the first partnerships of this size for Facebook in Europe, and it’s no surprise that it would happen in Paris with TheFamily. Aside from the fact that much of the EMEA Partnerships team is French – led by Julien Cordoniou (who’s currently looking for a lead in Tel Aviv, by the way) – Facebook and Parse have had an ongoing relationship with TheFamily for some time. In addition to sponsoring TheOtherNight, which Rude Baguette co-hosted with TheFamily last December during LeWeb, Parse co-founder Tikhon Bernstam visited TheFamily early on in its existence, and spent the entire summer of 2013 living inside TheFamily’s former headquarters (conveniently a renovated apartment, which I also frequently used in 2013 as well).

Facebook doesn’t have its work cut out for them to get startups to think less about Google & Microsoft – who have been investing in startup ecosystems around the world for years – and more about Facebook. Between its Bizspark program, its Accelerator, and its venture arm, Microsoft has been quite active in a very hands off way (it was switched, in recent years, away from their former tendencies to push Microsoft products like Azure on startups who joined their ecosystem in one way or another). Most startups know that Facebook Ads will be necessary in order to get the mobile growth; however, startup builders may be used to looking to service like Heroku (acquired by Salesforce) for cloud hosting, which Facebook also offers, or to other startup tools, which is why Facebook’s partnerships also come with access to “tools that Facebook uses internally” – Mailchimp, Adobe, Hootsuite, and about two dozen others – which means that startups in Facebook’s ecosystem have access to the best SaaS tools available today.