Facebook chooses 60 finalists for Bots for Messenger Challenge

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Facebook has selected 60 finalists from across the Middle East and Africa for its Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge, which is asking developers to create innovative solutions with US$20,000 on offer to three winning teams.

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 has now selected 60 finalists from the hundreds of entries it says it received from across the Middle East and Africa, all of which have won a Gear VR and mobile phone, one hour of Facebook mentorship, and tools and services from FbStart. All student teams who made it to the finals won an additional $2,000.

All teams will now be connected with a mentor, and will need to resubmit their bots before midnight on June 2 to qualify to win. For each region, three runner-up teams will win US$10,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship, while three winning teams will win US$20,000 and three months of mentorship.

“Facebook grew out of a hacker culture and thrives by promoting innovation on new platforms. That’s why we launched the Bots for Messenger Challenge, with the aim of rewarding entrepreneurs and developers for harnessing the power of bots to create amazing new services and apps,” said Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s head of platform partnerships for the Middle East and Africa.

“We were overwhelmed to receive more than 1,000 entries over two and a half months for the Bots for Messenger Challenge from developers and entrepreneurs across the Middle East and Africa – each one of them solving a problem in an inventive way or enriching the lives of its target user.”

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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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