Social App Hayi Raises Undisclosed Seed Round

Social App Hayi Raises Undisclosed Seed Round 

The UAE-based neighbourhood app has announced today that the company has successfully secured an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Plus VC, a leading venture capital firm that invests in early-stage, tech-enabled startups in the MENA and its diaspora, with participation from prominent regional angel investors.

Hayi is a secure neighbourhood platform for people to connect with those who are physically closest to them and create a sense of belonging to a real and dynamic community. This digital neighbourhood-focused community app takes a unique approach to virtually connecting everyone and everything in the local area. Hayi is highly popular among neighbours across Dubai and is used to share daily local recommendations, keep up to date with local announcements, reunite with lost pets, buy and sell pre-loved goods, and organise local community events.

The newly raised capital will be deployed to scale up its operations, grow its marketing activities, and expand its footprint across the UAE and beyond. This funding round follows Hayi's achievements in crossing several noteworthy milestones in the past year. Hayi has also consistently recorded positive cash flow over the past several months, thus growing into a profitable and sustainable business.

"We are honoured to have such strong investors who recognise Hayi’s early achievements, are confident in our growth potential, and actively support our vision and values. Their backing and support will help us achieve our short-term and long-term objectives and pioneer in this space,” said Chris Darnell, co-founder at Hayi.

“Over the past year, our strategy was to create a sticky product to lock in our users and obtain a high user retention and engagement rate. Today, we have become the primary communication channel in vibrant neighbourhoods such as Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) in Dubai. Our goal is to focus on expanding into new areas and fostering a stronger sense of community throughout Dubai and the UAE,” he added.

Hayi is utilising its first-mover advantage in the region to become MENA's first neighbourhood app. Inspired by the global successes of unicorn neighbourhood apps such as Nextdoor in the USA and Danggeun Market in South Korea.

Commenting on the fundraising announcement, Hasan Haider, Managing Partner +VC, said: "Community-based apps are gaining traction as there is a growing demand for people to communicate with others in their vicinity. This is evident from the growth Hayi has witnessed month over month. Platforms such as Hayi have great potential for growth as more and more people seek strong neighbourhood connectivity, a sense of community and belonging, and improved safety and security. We are delighted to collaborate with Chris, Rene, and their team as they expand their footprints across the UAE and beyond and position Hayi as a trailblazer in this field."

"For us, a sustainable growth path with strong cash flows was essential before considering expansion. We launched our B2B subscription service about a year ago, where we help local businesses access customers in an extremely hyper-targeted manner. Today, we are proud to have 30,000 highly engaged organic users. With Hayi, businesses can promote their offerings not only directly to a certain neighbourhood but even down to a specific apartment building. This level of geo-marketing is currently unprecedented. We have witnessed robust cash flows with 30 percent monthly recurring revenue (MRR) growth, indicating a spike in demand for Hayi and its widespread popularity. Being cash flow positive with strong revenue growth, we are excited to team up with Plus VC and our regional investors to accelerate our sustainable growth path," said Rene Morgan, co-founder at Hayi.

Hayi is based on trust, with each member's name, residence, and neighbourhood being verified. This adopts accountability and openness, two essential elements of community formation. Its burgeoning neighbourhood community has access to reliable hyperlocal information, helps one another out when needed, completes tasks, and creates discussion.

Hayi has become the primary communication channel for a collection of neighbourhoods in Dubai, with many local success stories in JVC. For example, besides neighbours discussing the usual local events, getting together for carpools, and reuniting pet parents with their lost cats, there's one story in particular that feels like a very 'Dubai' story. A lady woke up one morning with a falcon on her balcony. Unsure of how to handle the situation, she turned to her community on Hayi to ask for help, and very quickly, a neighbour in her building came to help her out!

Last year, the Hayi app was selected for Google’s #WeArePlay campaign, which honours and spotlights apps from around the world. Hayi was recognised as one of the few exceptional and favourite apps in the UAE. Besides, Hayi has managed and organised cleanups in neighbourhoods and held community events, in order to foster interaction between neighbours. The company had previously raised a pre-seed round of $325,000 from Sarya Holdings and Falak Startups.

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