Facebook chooses MENA Bots for Messenger Challenge winners

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Facebook has selected three winners from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) of its Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge, with the winners taking home US$20,000 in prize money and three months of mentorship.

Disrupt Africa reported in February on the call for applications for the Bots for Messenger Challenge, which invited teams to develop innovative bots for Messenger in three categories: gaming and entertainment; productivity and utility; and social good.

Facebook later selected 60 finalists, which it has now narrowed down to three winning startups. Three runner-up teams also won US$10,000 plus mentorship.

The winner in the Gaming and Entertainment was Morocco’s Trivoxx, which allows a group of friends to test their knowledge on sports, science, and cities in three languages. Egypt’s Mastermind Games Bot was runner-up, a collection of five interactive games to solve codes based on various combinations of logic and memory.

In Productivity and Utility category, Egypt’s Mr Ink from Egypt was named winner. Users can either type a book name, or snap a photo of the book cover, to obtain information about the book including its author, rating, and book description. Runner-up was Evii from Jordan, which helps customers order and pick up food via its bot.

Another Egyptian solution won the Social Good category. MathHook was rewarded for bringing mathematics into everyone’s life by helping users to solve complex math problems and search for math courses on YouTube across 3,000 videos. Egypt also had the runner-up in the category, Adam – a community for pregnant women.

“It’s been nearly five months since we first invited submissions for the 2017 Bots for Messenger Challenge and we’re excited to share the winners. We were incredibly impressed with the bot submissions we received and the commitment to excellence that all the contestants have demonstrated, since the launch of the contest,” said Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s head of platform partnerships for the Middle East and Africa.

“We congratulate all the winners, wish them luck and thank all of the participants for making the Bots for Messenger Challenge a success. We look forward to seeing these bots continue to evolve into strong services for their communities.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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