Here at SiliconANGLE we’ve extensively discussed how Facebook helps companies get noticed by becoming a platform where they can advertise their brands, products or services. These days it seems all anyone can think about is Facebook’s upcoming IPO or their billion dollar Instagram acquisition. But there’s more to Facebook than just the IPO, or their ad platform, or their insatiable appetite for acquiring startups. Facebook actually generates jobs through its booming ecosystem.
Facebook for startups
Facebook was once a startup company looking for investors. Now, they’re a social networking giant that helps startups get on their feet and possibly go public in a matter of months or years.
A perfect example of this is Wildfire Interactive – a 3-year-old startup that helps the likes of Sony, Virgin Atlantic Airways and Unilever engage with their customers via Facebook.
“It’s like catching a big wave,” said Wildfire CEO Victoria Ransom, a New Zealander and the former head of a global adventure travel company who founded Wildfire in 2009 with Alain Chuard, a former professional snow boarder. “There is definitely a wave here, which is social media, that is changing the way businesses do everything.”
Facebook used to be dominated by social gaming companies but it has now transformed into a platform where startups can reach people to offer jobs, merchandise or services. As of 2011, Facebook has more than 3,000 employees across their offices in California, Ireland, Texas and India. But that number is comparably small to the jobs generated by the startups on Facebook.
Wildfire alone has more than 330 employees with roughly 20 new hires each month. Another startup worth mentioning is BranchOut – the job networking service on Facebook. They currently have about 50 people on their team and in a matter of months, that number could double and possibly triple, especially if the company continues to grow. BranchOut reports adding three new users every second, or about two million new users per week.
“We are one of the companies that could, on the back of Facebook, be on track for becoming a public company in the next three to four years,” said Rick Marini, the founder and CEO of BranchOut.
Facebook not only opens opportunities for startups but for the people who sign up for these startups as well. BranchOut helps people find jobs easily while another Facebok startup, Payvment, helps people sell and buy stuff online. Payvment currently has about 25 employees that help people all over the globe purchase and sell goods on the social networking site.
“You’re essentially building a business on a train that’s going 150 mph,” said Christian Taylor, the co-founder and CEO of Payvment.
Aside from being the go-to-guy on the web, Facebook is already extending their efforts in the mobile sector. Last February, they partnered up with U.K. mobile billing and analytics provider Bango, to provide payment services to Facebook mobile users. This move will also open new opportunities as this service can be utilized by mobile app makers thus more mobile app developers would be encouraged to develop for Facebook mobile.
Facebook Ecosystem – from infrastructure to implementation
The latest addition to the Facebook ecosystem is the App Center – a platform that gives developers an additional way to grow their apps and creates opportunities for more types of apps to be successful. Facebook hopes that the App Center will be the unifying app store for all mobile devices. The App Center will start rolling out in the coming weeks and Facebookers can access this via the iOS or Android Facebook apps.
Especially when it comes to the mobile sector, it’s clear Facebook wants to grow its infrastructure to encompass a business-driven ecosystem for connecting brands and consumers. Finding the best way to do this has always been a primary goal for Facebook, and its upcoming IPO highlights Facebook’s structure as a revenue-generating system for ads and content marketing.
We’ve seen Facebook’s contribution to social advertising at a large scale, with companies like thismoment incorporating Facebook as a necessary portal for marketing their own clients. And Facebook’s influence is only likely to continue to grow, despite rising competition from independent mobile apps and integrated services like Google+. From infrastructure to business tools, it seems there’s no slowing Facebook down.