Opportunities for underserved communities in tech are still tough to come by. My partner in hacking, Alissa and I thought that the best way to connect communities to tech, would be to serve those communities with the greatest obstacles to get through the leaky pipeline into tech. We felt that using Facebook Messenger and its bot capabilities would enable us to take this inspiration and create conversations that could do the work.

What it does

Conversations are always a great way to connect people with opportunity. Alli, an awesome ally bot is ready to help Facebook users from communities of color, women, and the LGBTQ community connect with events, jobs, and mentorships. Users can share events and jobs with Facebook friends, and there is a signup form for people to become mentors or to get mentorship.

How we built it

We used apis from the Facebook Messenger Platform,, Google Forms(for now) and Github jobs. We used nlp to create greetings based on the time of day and to introduce Alli-Bot to the user. We used Meetup for the upcoming events conversation and Github jobs for conversations about job opportunities. Finally as a temporary solution, we use Google Forms to sign up mentors and mentees.

Challenges we ran into

The api integration was challenging, but the ultimate challenge that will continue to persist throughout the development of this product is making sure that Alli stays engaging and human through all of her conversations with the end user.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Being able to create a robust starting point for a chatbot product, something we have never done before. Also, to be able to create a product that people have already responded to as having the potential for a positive impact, and we are starting to collect a list of trial users!

What we learned

We learned how to interact with new apis that we have never touched before. We learned how to create a chat bot, which is awesome.

What's next for AlliBot

While we have activated some key updates, our job isn't done. Updates include improved conversational flow, asking about becoming a software engineer, and new motivational language, and compliment conversations. We will continue to work with nlp to enhance the conversations and also find companies that will work with us to improve diversity.

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posted an update

Here are some key commands that we added that will help you:

  • When you are looking for jobs in a different city than your current city, just type: change city, and then Alli will prompt you to type the new city you would like to search in.

  • If you are struggling with being a software engineer - you can ask Alli and she will send you a view of new options including quizzes and articles.

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posted an update

AlliBot is happy to have been recognized in this competition. All of the winners created fantastic apps and bots that are sure to make an impact. Thrilled to be a winner, and AlliBot will soon go through user testing and identify ways to make the job opportunity feature more robust. Thank you again, and Oakland says hello!

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