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 the 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 startups build and grow their bots. All student teams who made it to the finals won an additional $2,000.
The finalists will be connected with mentors. They will need to resubmit their bots before midnight (GMT) on 2 June 2017 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.
View the full list of finalists here.
Says Emeka Afigbo, Facebook’s head of platform partnerships for the Middle East and Africa: “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.