Bengaluru-based photo sharing startup Vebbler has been selected for Facebook’s developer-focused programme “FbStart” which caters to the early-stage, mobile-focused startups.

As part of the programme, the startup will be provided with services & credits worth $40,000. The services include mentorship from Facebook’s engineering teams and services from its partners like Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Adobe, and MailChimp. Besides partners, it will give free access to more than 25 services including open source tools like React Native, FB Login and Account Kit and App Analytics.

Vebbler was founded as a personal social network on web in June 2013 by Sahil Bhagat. As claimed in an official statement, the network grew over one lakh users across 108 countries in a span of few months. It was later launched as a mobile app in August 2016.

As Sahil stated, “It was around this period we saw several shifts in the social media space. Networks were becoming more visual than textual. We hence trimmed the product and removed status updates and sharing of links on the platform.”

The app allows a user to share photos with friends and closed ones in private groups. Vebbler is also private by design, which means that photos are shared into groups called clubs, and can only be seen by the respective club members.  Unlike other social media platforms that broadcast your content, on Vebbler you can contextually share with relevant groups of people.

He further shared, “We also saw that there was a huge gap in the group photo-sharing space, which ‘clubs’ could very easily and effectively address since it was all about contextual groups. We thus decided to focus more on photo and video. We also implemented a camera-first strategy that made it easier for people to sync photos into a club, directly from the camera itself. This ensures that giving and getting photos will never be a problem.”

Vebbler also has other features like Art filters to transform photos into stunning work of art through filters, visual reactions to react to photos, private and public clubs and promoted profiles of leading online influencers from India.

With FbStart Program, the startup aims to reach out to a larger target audience, with an ultimate goal to become the default camera app on smartphones.

Earlier, in August 2016, it also raised $500K angel funding from a syndicate of 16 investors such as Anupam Mittal, Founder and CEO of People Group; Sharad Sharma, Co-Founder of iSpirt; Venkat Raju, CEO of Kyron Accelerator; Pranav Pai and Siddarth Pai, Founding Partners of 3one4 Capital, and others.

Facebook launched FbStart in 2014 with an aim to help early-stage mobile startups build and grow their apps. It provides an exclusive community, worldwide events, and mentorship from Facebook to the startups along with $80K in free tools and services.

FbStart includes three tracks, viz., Pre-launch (up to $15K benefits), Bootstrap (up to $30K benefits), and Accelerate (up to $80K benefits). The programme provides free access to more than 25 services including open source tools like React Native, FB Login and Account Kit and App Analytics.

India is the largest market for FbStart outside the US. According to the product partnerships team at Facebook, over 75% of top-grossing apps in India get integrated with Facebook.

Other startups accepted to FBStart programme this year include Video Vibe, FoodCloud, Healofy, AsepsisLife, Partiko, Flicksup, CoutLoot, XPrep, Fixu and more.

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