Facebook announced today that it has launched a new competition across Europe to help it identify the most promising new software developers and mobile apps.

The competition, known as “The Big App” and being run in partnership with crowdsourcing platform Seedrs and business consultancy Worth Capital, will take place in London over the next 11 weeks, concluding with a “Dragons Den” style pitch event for 10 finalists on 17 November at Facebook’s London HQ.

Facebook said its main role in the initiative will be as a judge, using its expertise in mobile to identify the next generation of groundbreaking apps. Mark Zuckerberg's firm added that it will also be launching a Europe-wide online advertising campaign to help drive awareness and encourage applications from app developers.

The competition is open to software developers across all verticals, from ecommerce to fintech to gaming. 

The one winner and two runners-up will receive a combined sum of £350,000 (being raised on Seedrs by Worth Capital) in exchange for a chunk of their business. A Facebook spokesperson refused to comment on whether Facebook will make a job offer to the winner or the runners-up. 

Facebook said it will choose winners and runners-up based on the “success and creativity” of their app.

Deborah Hale, business marketing director at Facebook EMEA, said: “Fostering innovation on mobile is central to Facebook’s role in helping businesses of all sizes grow and be successful and so we’re really happy to lend the programme our full support. For the investors, the fund represents a very attractive opportunity as the competition is the ultimate filtering process.”

Jeff Lynn, CEO of Seedrs, said: “The Big App Fund offers private investors an ideal way to gain a slice of the action in this hugely expanding market. The added value of an expert panel picking the best companies to invest in, the mentoring these companies will get and of course Facebook’s support in recruiting entrants and the promotion of the winners makes this a genuinely unique opportunity for investors.”

The deadline for submissions is 6 October.

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