Facebook has officially opened its first in-house incubator, which will be housed in the company’s London headquarters.
The company first announced LDN_LAB back in December when it . The incubator will launch three 12-week courses throughout 2018, with seven U.K. startups constituting the inaugural program which kicked off on Monday.
Each three-month program will focus on helping startups grow their business, with the first intake focusing specifically on using technology to build communities.
This feeds into Facebook’s broader mission to help people have , which seemingly involves investing in communities. Indeed, Facebook last year to bring group and page admins together under one roof, and later . A few weeks back, Facebook also for a new community leadership program.
Facebook’s new HQ in London’s West End represents Facebook’s largest engineering hub outside the U.S. and it’s expected to house more than 2,000 employees by the end of 2018.
LDN_LAB is being spearheaded by an advisory panel that includes Facebook EMEA VP Nicola Mendelsohn, with support from London VC firm Bethnal Green Ventures. Participants will gain access to mentoring from “senior Facebook executives” covering elements such as product development, software engineering, data science, and marketing.
“Facebook itself emerged from a vibrant startup ecosystem which enabled us to move fast and innovate,” noted Facebook VP for northern Europe Steve Hatch. “With LDN_LAB, we want to help pave the way for the next generation of startup success stories in London and across the U.K., who will ultimately grow the economy and create jobs.”
The first seven startups, which largely hail from London and which include five female founders, kicked off their participation in the program yesterday by meeting their mentors and pitching their businesses. They include:
- Sharecare: A platform for connecting volunteers with elderly people needing support.
- Teacherly: A collaborative platform for teachers to create and share lesson plans.
- Olio: A network for neighbors to connect with each other and local shops to prevent surplus food from being thrown out.
- Goodgym: A non-for-profit that connects runners with community-based volunteering initiatives.
- Mush: A social network for new mothers.
- Rabble: Gamifying fitness to make it more fun.
- Tabl: An independent food community and marketplace.
The second segment of the program will focus narrowly on content creators from Facebook and Instagram who will be given access to workshops and mentoring, while the third intake, which will begin in August, will invite “community leaders and builders” to participate. It appears this will focus largely on Facebook Groups and Pages admins.
Though LDN_LAB is Facebook’s first in-house incubator, the company has in fact previously ran incubators elsewhere. Last January, for example, it in Paris’ Station F campus.