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It seems platform funds are launching all over the place these days. Three years ago (boy it seems like yesterday) Facebook launched their fbFund. Most recently communications platform Twilio announced a $250,000 Twilio Fund for startups that build upon their platform. Last month Dave McClure’s 500Startups launched the CrowdFlower $250,000 CrowdFlower microfund.
Email platform provider MailChimp has announced the launch of their “integration fund” today. The fund will offer a total of $1 million to startups who build applications on top of the MailChimp platform. Unlike most of the other platform funds, MailChimp says they won’t take any equity. For example, both the CrowdFlower and Twilio funds take 1% equity for an up-to $10,000 investment. There is no mention on the MailChimp fund overview regarding the maximum amount each startup can receive.
The announcement blog post is well worth a read even if you aren’t going to participate in the fund. MailChimp co-founder and CEO Ben Chestnut discusses how MailChimp grew and why they want to help other companies build towards their own growth. Ben notes that the best marketing vehicle for MailChimp was (and is) the launch of their API. He suggests you build one for your startup and then leverage other APIs for growth. I’ve often said that leveraging others technology is smart — the mistake is building solely upon another companies technology.
If you are interested in obtaining some of the funds, you can complete the application here.