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First finalists announced for FBFund '09

This year, the big differences are that FBFund awards are in the form of equity investments, not grants, and that many of the finalists are now Facebook Connect or iPhone apps.

There are over 50,000 applications built on Facebook's platform, but the company isn't stopping there. It's continuing to support budding developers with its second annual FBFund app funding competition, with the first 25 of 50 finalists announced Monday. The rest will be announced soon.

The batch of finalists was announced in a post on the Facebook developer blog by Dave McClure of the Founders Fund, the longtime Facebook investor that has provided financial backing for the seed fund. McClure will also be running FBFund's inaugural incubator program this summer.

What's different from when Facebook first announced the seed fund is that in addition to Facebook Platform apps, the finalists also include sites that use the Facebook Connect login product and apps built using the new Facebook Connect for the iPhone. In total, there are 13 Connect sites, eight Platform apps, and four iPhone apps.

The decisions were made with the help of a "Developer Council" consisting of prominent members of the app development and investment space.

The winners, who will be announced soon, will receive up to a $100,000 investment as well as an invitation to participate in the incubator program in Facebook's hometown of Palo Alto, Calif., which starts in mid-June. Last year's FBFund developers stood a chance at winning up to $225,000 (in the form of grants rather than investments), but the incubator program is new for 2009.

Finalists include odd-job seeker RunMyErrand, iPhone photography game Paparazzi, and runners' networking and route-tracking site RunThere. A full list of the first 25 is here.