Botcamp, our accelerator for early stage companies building chat-based products, finished in September 2016. Betaworks was joined by The Chernin Group to invest in each of the companies. GE, KPCB, General Catalyst, Atomico, RRE, and Breaking News (a part of NBC News) were program partners.
The program was betaworks’ first accelerator and sparked the creation of the camp program--a series of thematically-driven accelerators for startups building products in fronteir technologies. Since botcamp, betaworks has continued to run camp programs whose themes reflect the areas on which we are most focused and that evolve with our investment theses.
At betaworks we have seen conversational interfaces become a new mobile design paradigm. We have been building, investing, and researching this area for some time, all reinforced and highlighted in the notifications work we did in the fall of 2015. From Poncho, a messaging based weather service, to GIPHY bot in Slack, to the Digg news search bot, chat bots are establishing the most convenient way to interact with the services and media you love. Together with our partners, we aim to continue to accelerate the bot ecosystem.
The above mentioned partners were joined by leading players in the ecosystem as mentors to help the development of participating companies. Those included tech platforms and media companies such as Twitter, Microsoft, Slack, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Line, Kik, Discord, Skype, WeChat, and NYTimes. Venture capitalists like Greylock, SV Angel, Eniac, Lerer Hippeay Ventures, Lightspeed, Greycroft, Bloomberg Beta, BodGroup, Homebrew, Slow Ventures, and Lowercase Capital.
What is botcamp?
Botcamp is an eleven-week program for a select group of bot builders that began in July, 2016 and concluded in September 2016. During that time participating companies worked with betaworks and leading thinkers on chatbots, conversational interfaces, and AI. The betaworks team, along with industry partners, work with the teams on product, platform integration, data science, branding, and fundraising.
8% of common stock in each company is allocated to betaworks. A $200,000 uncapped, SAFE note with a 25% discount is offered to all botcamp companies. Each company selected into botcamp gets:
- ten weeks of programming at betaworks in New York City with optional office space for 1-2 cofounders
- hands-on guidance from the betaworks team in areas such as product, platform integration, data science, branding and fundraising
- sessions on various aspects of building your company from user acquisition to bot toolkits by the people who are building those platforms and tools
- access to our early adopter network, openbeta
- weekly speakers from all of the top platforms supporting chat bots
- access to mentors from VC funds actively investing in the chat interface category
- AWS Promotional Credit of up to $15,000 for 2 years or $100,000 for 1 year plus other benefits like Business Level support and technical office hours with AWS architects.
We are currently accepting applications to our visioncamp focused on augemented reality, computer vision, and “camera-first” applications/services. everything that becomes possible when the camera knows what it is seeing.
Our thoughts on bots:
- The Hidden Homescreen: a conversation about conversational interfaces by @matthartman
- A Home for Bots by @anarosenstein
- When do bots beat apps & Howdy is your new digital coworker by @peterrojas
- Introducing Botwick by @borthwick
- The Robots are Coming. Is your brand ready? by @koopstakov
- Think Differently when Building Bots and Quietly Growing Users++ (On Building a Slack Bot) by @gleuch
- #Homescreen into the Sunset by @pmontee