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UAE-based neighborhood app and social connector Hayi has successfully raised $325K in its latest funding round. The seed round was led by Sarya Holdings and Falak Startups, with the participation of key angel investors.
Founded in 2020, by Chris Darnell and Rene Morgan, Hayi is a hyperlocal social network that digitizes UAE neighborhoods by connecting all neighbors, local businesses, and community managers to create stronger and more connected communities.
Early-stage funding rounds (<$500K) have been observing a general slump across MENA, where the UAE observed almost 43% fewer deals in 2021 YTD than Full Year 2020. Despite this drop, however, investors and enablers like Flat 6 Labs, 500 Startups, Falak Startups, the IFC, and the ISSF have been supporting early-stage ventures in the UAE, keeping the future deal flow intact. This year, amongst the many emerging ventures closing Early-Stage rounds we observed innovations in F&B with cloud kitchen brand Maison Duffour, health and wellness with Fitlov, and even culture-centric stock image platforms like Silkroad Images.
The community-based startup is committed to creating a safe and exclusive platform that can help bring communities together both online and offline. Chris Darnell, CEO of Hayi commented “Residents are looking to connect with each other now more than ever. A stronger and more connected neighbourhood can introduce a wealth of benefits to an individual’s day-to-day life, as well as tackling an array of issues which have become inflated these past two years with the pandemic.”
As part of its freemium model, Hayi looks to partner with all Community Management and Property Development firms across the region and has seen a sharp increase in interest from these firms in using the free app to better connect with their residents as well as create a stronger and more connected community. Rene Morgan, COO, added, “The fundraising round will really help us develop the product further for all end-users and create an exclusive space for them to connect, without irrelevant noise from outside their community.”
The startup also plans on using its recent investment to accelerate its growth across the country before looking to make strategic entrances into various new markets with the goal of becoming the largest hyperlocal social network in the MENA region. The Falak Startups team concluded in a statement “We are beyond excited to start our journey with Hayi’s outstanding team and become part of the immense growth of the first of its kind neighborhood management solution. Hayi presents a great opportunity for us to learn about community behavior as well as a powerful platform to integrate with many other solutions.”
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