How Facebook and TheFamily are partnering to give Paris-based startups a hand

Social networking giant and French incubator to offer tools, education, and funding to young businesses.

A while back, Facebook forged a partnership with TheFamily, a Paris-based organisations supporting enterpreneurial businesses, fast becoming one of the largest in France. Founded in March 2013, TheFamily works to build "unpredictable and non-linear businesses" and now supports around 180 startups.

Many of these are consumer-focused, such as music video maker Mindie, and TokTokTok, which hires 'runners' to deliver food and other items around the clock, a service currently only within the Paris metro area. However, TheFamily also works with young companies designed to help businesses function more efficiently.

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Alice Zagury, CEO of TheFamily. Image: TheFamily

These include Algolia, a cloud-based instant search platform that helps developers deliver intuitive search-as-you-type functionality for applications and websites; Qapa, which helps companies to find new employees which is already being used by Google, Chanel, and BlaBlaCar; and Bunkr, a presentation-sharing site launched in December 2012 that now has over 50,000 users.

Fbstart offered to TheFamily startups

Now, Facebook has begun automatically offering Fbstart, its support programme for young mobile businesses, to all those in TheFamily's startup circle. Under normal circumstances, startups have to apply to, and be approved by, the Fbstart team before being able to access the scheme.

As a result, TheFamily's entrepreneurs can use Facebook tools such as Parse to develop and monetise their mobile applications. "These resources are freely available to our startups because Facebook trusts our judgement. They are really fighting for entrepreneurship and diversity, and on that we are totally aligned," says Alice Zagury, CEO of TheFamily.

Helping mobile startups succeed

Fbstart provides packages of services and tools worth up to $60,000 in benefits through the Bootstrap or Accelerate track. The former targets early stage startups and the latter is meant for more established apps demonstrating potential for long-term growth.

Elements of these packages include Facebook advertising credits, optimisation support from Facebook's preferred marketing developers including Ampush and AdParlor, and credits for remote usability and UX testing.

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"Facebook's mission is to provide all developers with the tools to accelerate the creation of their apps, help them grow and, most of all, to monetise," says Julien Lesaicherre, the head of EMEA mobile platforms partnerships at Facebook. "Our association with TheFamily makes sense because of our shared values, but also our field of action. By combining our technology platform to TheFamily's education platform, we wish to provide the resources the French ecosystem needs to succeed in a social and mobile-first world."

A shared entrepreneurial vision for France

The partnership between the two companies goes beyond tools: TheFamily and Facebook will also share their knowledge and contacts, as well as providing educational resources.

"We need to have winners, and set a precedent in a sense, but what we do for the moment is education," says Zagury. "We do three things at TheFamily for startups: first is education - like a school we provide expertise and classes; second is tools - we call them 'unfair advantages', where service providers create beautiful packages to help our startups develop; and third is access to capital."

The partnership with Facebook will also now mean that execs from the social network will be present at regular workshops, events, and conferences organised by TheFamily to discuss topics affecting the tech ecosystem.

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