Facebook said it has accepted more than 500 start-ups from 63 countries into FbStart, its programme to help developers grow their business.

The social network giant said it has been choosing companies with “high quality mobile apps with the potential for continued growth”, with more than half of accepted companies based outside the US.

Selected partners receive credits for Facebook and Parse, as well as free tools and credits from partners designed to help in areas such as product testing, recruiting, customer care, video conferencing, document management, “and more”.

FbStart was first announced at the f8 developers’ conference in April and initially only open to participants of that event. It was opened up to all developers in May.

Facebook has added a number of new partners to the programme to provide tools and support for FbStart members, including Transifex to help with localisation, and HootSuite for social media monitoring.

Three partners were added this week, with payments platform provider Braintree, cross platform development firm Appmethod and engagement specialist Get Satisfaction bringing the total of partners to 17.

As a result, the programme can now offer free tools and services valued at $40,000 — up from $30,000 at launch.

Facebook said it will soon share details of events for FbStart members and added that there are still spaces available on the programme.

In order to qualify, applicants must have an app that has been live at least 30 days, and there is no need to be integrated with Facebook to enrol. There are two FbStart tracks: Bootstrap, for apps that are just starting out, and Accelerate, for apps that have shown some traction and are looking for further growth.

Facebook also announced the introduction of App Links, an open, cross platform method of enabling direct access to apps from mobile app ads on Facebook. It is initially only available to companies that are part of the Preferred Marketing Developers programme.

More than one billion App Links have been enabled since the technology was launched at f8, with the likes of Spotify, Hulu and Vimeo adopting the technology.