We are excited to announce botcamp, a new program at betaworks to help you build your bot and bot business. At betaworks we are seeing conversational interfaces becoming the 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 last fall. 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 accelerate the bot ecosystem.
We’re partnering with leading players in the ecosystem to accelerate the development of your company. Partners include platforms, venture capitalists, related startups, and media companies. Betaworks has partnered with The Chernin Group to invest in each of the companies. General Electric, KPCB, General Catalyst, Atomico, RRE, and Breaking News, part of NBC News, are sponsoring botcamp. Twitter, Microsoft, Slack, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Line, Kik, Discord, Skype, WeChat, and The New York Times will be mentors, along with VCs such as: Greylock, SV Angel, Eniac, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Lightspeed, Greycroft, Bloomberg Beta, BoxGroup, Homebrew, Slow Ventures, and Lowercase Capital.
What is botcamp?
Botcamp is a ten-week program for a select group of bot builders that begins July 11th and concludes in September. During that time you’ll have access to some of the smartest thinkers about chatbots, conversational interfaces, and AI. The betaworks team, along with industry partners, will work with you on product, platform integration, data science, branding and fundraising. You’ll also have access to bot building tools such as Howdy and Dexter. Betaworks will help integrate into messaging platforms by having mentors from Twitter, Slack, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Line, and Kik.
If selected, we’ll also make an investment in your bot startup.
Who is botcamp for?
Are you working on a bot? Building a bot related company? Botcamp is designed for anyone building within the ecosystem of conversational interfaces — whether that’s a Twitterbot, Alexa skill, or an enabling layer of NLP or the machine learning that many of these require. This is for builders who are either in the early stages of product development, have a beta, or have a prototype product.
How do I apply?
Via bot! Strike up a conversation with betabot, which will ask you a few questions about what you’re working on. The deadline to apply is May 1st.
Update: Applications are now closed.
Why should I apply?
Bots and conversational interfaces are becoming the new mobile design paradigm. Betaworks has been building and investing around social, the notification layer and connected APIs for several years. Botcamp is an opportunity to gather and accelerate the development of ten companies in a concentrated ten week program of the kind that only betaworks can do — given its developer focus, its existing expertise and the relationships it has to bot and bot related companies (Dexter, IFTTT, Poncho, Howdy, Slash Keyboard, Workflow, Rawr, Public Studio, Telegram, Kik, Twitter, Slack, Amazon and Facebook).
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.
In setting up botcamp, we are collaborating with a set of partners to accelerate and provide value to the participating companies. These partners represent messaging / social platforms, VC’s, media partners, and startups in the ecosystem:
As an example of a platform partner:
- Twitter's platform enables developers to build conversational Bots that reach a large global audience. Bots have been an integral part of customer service, marketing campaigns, and entertainment on Twitter since it was first launched a decade ago.
An example of a media partner:
- The Chernin Group operates at the forefront of the intersection of media and technology platforms, and sees participating in botcamp a great way to support entrepreneurs with similar interests.
Example of a startup partner:
- Dexter is a tool kit developed at betaworks that connects web app to bots and lets you build simple SMS bots
- Howdy’s BotKit offers building Blocks for developing Slack apps
How to apply:
Applications are now closed.
Need help? firstname.lastname@example.org
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