UNICEF Innovation Fund Graduate: Ilhasoft

Bothub: Revolutionizing Natural Language Processing for everyone

John Cordeiro
Yasmin, in school in inland Bahia, Brazil
14 June 2019

The UNICEF Innovation Fund is proud to see portfolio member, Ilhasoft, graduate. They’ve come a long way – from numerous product iterations to deep diving into understanding their ecosystem better, strengthening their business model, and gearing up to take their solution to market. They’re now ready to collaborate at a larger scale – as they find new pathways to work with partners, investors, and the open source community.


The state of Alagoas, Brazil, does not usually stand out in the field of technology. But we always had in mind that we wanted to take our ideas to the whole world without losing our roots.

We had been developing chatbots for two years, and we always noticed that chatbots have difficulty in understanding users' needs. This motivated us to design an intelligent and multilingual platform which could be used democratically and cooperatively.

Bothub: a Global and Open Source NLP Platform

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is the realm of artificial intelligence that helps machines understand and interpret the human language. Bothub has the potential to transform the NLP platform landscape because we have been able to engage some languages ​​that even giant platforms, like Google Translator,  do not accept, democratizing the use of this type of technology in countries with little or no support at all.

Our system allows for easy training, access to ready-made datasets, a long-term low cost, and support for less common languages.


After extensive research and architecture updates during the funding process, we now have a platform that can handle 29 languages. We have also obtained exceptional results in accuracy tests of Brazilian Portuguese, our native language.


We also ensured that with every step of the platform development process -- that it was guided by the feedback and insights of our users.

In addition, all libraries used for the construction of Bothub are open source and have gathered a lot of contributors. Working with the open source community, we have also identified expert contributors to hire and work on developing the product further.

Getting to where we are and want is not linear nor easy — there were several obstacles, and many more to come in the future. After all, we needed to develop a scalable model and affordable architecture.

The Bothub Platform

Our Growth Plan

For the next year, the main goal is to scale the platform! To do so, we will explore and develop new partnerships for integration. We also intend to have an extensive knowledge base to draw more and more users to the platform, support more languages and consolidate our revenue model.

We have evolved our business model in the last 12 months. We have defined, for example, customer segments, distribution channels, and market research. In addition, we developed a communication strategy to reach the age groups and countries that have more affinity with our product.

Next, we plan to onboard/recruit a Business Developer, who will be responsible for establishing international partnerships with NGOs and Chatbots companies.

Rondiney Diniz, 20, speaks on his mobile phone on a street in the city of Fortaleza, capital of the state of Ceará, in Northeastern Brazil.
UNICEF/UN017581/Ueslei Marcelino

What's Next?

  • Explore new partnerships
    • 3+ Chatbot Makers Integrated
  • Growth Activities
    • 100+ open bots
    • 100+ languages supported
  • Aggregate more value
    • 3+ Marketplaces Integrated
  • Consolidate the Revenue Share Model
    • Automated process to share revenue across partners

The value that the UNICEF Innovation Fund has added to Bothub goes well beyond funding.

The Fund team has been assisted us closely -- from the creation of business model  to the practical application in market research and content creation.

The UNICEF Innovation Fund has also connected us to relevant stakeholders to deploy our product in real cases. Thanks for this opportunity!