#ZimStartups: Facebook Shortlists Two Zim Fb Messenger Bots

Two Facebook Messenger Bots made by Zimbabweans have been selected among 60 finalists who participated in the Bots for Messenger Developer Challenge.

Drawn from hundreds of entries received by Facebook across the Middle East and Africa, PopTime Bot – Movie Companion and Sphinx The Game made it on the list of 60. The Bots for Messenger Challenge is a contest to recognise and reward developers who create the most innovative new bots on Messenger.

By Kudakwashe Pembere

“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,” said Facebook in a statement.

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 (https://Developers.Facebook.com/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 headquarters

The Mark Zuckerberg owned company said the finalists should resubmit their bots by June 2.

“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

Facebook’s Head of Platform Partnerships for the Middle East and Africa Emeka Afigbo said, “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.

“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.”

About 20 Zimbabwean participants took part in the Zimbabwean leg of the Bots for Messenger Challenge held at Moto Republik last month.

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