Business

Facebook is creating an investment arm for startups, says Axios

That would be a way for Facebook to complete major acquisitions in the near future without facing antitrust questioning

Facebook has been hiring seasoned tech investors to help lead a new "multimillion dollar" investment fund. Photo: Shutterstock
  • The social network’s new project is a means to keep its finger on the pulse of the startup world;
  • Facebook confirmed to Axios that it has hired someone to fill that role but declined to name the person or say how large the fund would be.

Facebook is establishing a venture arm to invest in startups. According to Axios, the new venture capital area will have a multimillion dollar fund focused on detecting emerging trends and future rivals before they become big.

The social network’s new project is a way to keep its finger on the pulse of the startup world. According to Axios, Facebook has been hiring seasoned tech investors to help lead a new “multimillion dollar” investment fund within its experimental apps team as the big tech posted a job opening recently saying it was looking to hire a “head of investments” for its New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, ideally someone with 10 years of tech experience. It later deleted the job opening.

READ ALSO: Facebook launches WhatsApp Pay in Brazil

“In this role, you will manage a multi million dollar fund that invests in leading private companies alongside top venture capital firms and angel investors,” Facebook has said in the job posting. “You will develop investment and impact theses, lead the execution of new investments, and support existing portfolio companies as needed.”

Facebook confirmed to Axios that it has hired someone to fill that role but declined to name the person or say say how large the fund would be. Also helping manage the new fund is Shabih Rizvi, a Google and Kleiner Perkins veteran who was most recently at Gradient Ventures, one of the corporate venture firms owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

A source familiar with the company’s plans said the effort is not a general purpose fund but rather a targeted effort to stay in close touch with the startup world. Facebook characterized the effort as an extension of the work it has done in the past with startup accelerators and hackathons. “In the same spirit that the New Product Experimentation group is charged with product experimentation, the team is also experimenting with ways to support external startups, including with capital,” Facebook said in a statement to that media outlet.

That would be a way out of Facebook to escape antitrust pressure, which should make it harder for the company to have major acquisitions in the near future.