AFK Interactive is one of 20 promising startups included in the MobileBeat 2010 Startup Competition, and is in the running for one of two coveted Tesla Awards.

AFK Interactive’s M4 platform (Massively Multi-user Mobile Monetization) is the holy grail for gamers: It allows you to stay connected to massively multi-player online games (MMOs) like World of Warcraft, virtual worlds like Second Life, and social games like Farmville from any mobile device.

AFK is well aware that the majority of mobile devices, in particular low-end cellphones, won’t be able to run MMOs and complicated virtual worlds for some time. Instead, it has developed a way to accomplish key interactive tasks from your phone, like chatting with users in-game, buying and selling virtual goods, and crafting items. M4  supports practically every mobile platform available, including iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Java-based devices.

The M4 platform is a server-based, thin-client platform that can be easily deployed by any game publisher. Since it’s thin-client based, much of the work is done on the server and is then pushed to the user’s mobile device — allowing for complicated tasks to be done on low-end hardware. It also allows users to log directly into their online game profiles.

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AFK believes that mobile companion apps for games, like Blizzard’s recent World of Warcraft Auction House iPhone app, are going to become huge in the coming months. Since its M4 platform is already capable of doing much more than mere auction house work, and is easily deployable, AFK hopes that developers see it as an easy way to get their games connected to mobile devices.

The company also has multiple revenue models in mind: Revenue sharing with publishers on micro-transactions, revenue sharing on game subscriptions (for MMO’s that require monthly fees), and it also have the ability to charge a set price for every downloaded app.

AFK’s first product was for the MMO Fallen Earth, which launched in June. It’s also negotiating on deals for major upcoming MMOs, fantasy sports games, and virtual worlds.

Based in Cary, N.C., AFK’s core team comes out of a major mobile game and app developer. We’re still awaiting funding information.