In February, Facebook challenged developers across the Middle East and Africa to create innovative bots in the Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge to recognize and reward developers who create the most innovative new bots on Messenger.
It has now selected 60 finalists from the hundreds of entries it received from across the MEA.
Developers, in teams of up to three people, were invited to create bots in three categories: gaming and entertainment; productivity and utility; and social good.
The 60 finalist teams (10 per category in Middle East/North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa) each won a Gear VR and mobile phone, one hour of Facebook mentorship, and tools and services from FbStart, a Facebook program designed to help early stage mobile start-ups build and grow their bots. All student teams who made it to the finals won an additional $2,000.
Facebook will contact the finalists and connect them with a mentor. They will need to resubmit their bots before midnight (GMT) on June 2 to qualify to win. For each region, three runner-up teams (one from each category) will win $10,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship. For each region, three winning teams (one from each category) will win $20,000 and three months of Facebook mentorship.
The 60 finalist teams and their bots can be viewed here: https://messengerchallenge.splashthat.com
Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s head of platform partnerships for the Middle East and Africa, says in a statement, “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.