Dubai’s neighborhood app Hayi raises an undisclosed sum from Plus VC

Dubai, UAE-based neighborhood app, Hayi on Tuesday secured an undisclosed amount in the seed round from Plus VC, one of MENA’s leading venture capital firms that invests in early-stage, tech, and tech-enabled startups in the MENA and its diaspora, with participation from prominent regional angel investors.


Hayi is a safe neighborhood 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 neighborhood-focused community app takes a very unique approach to virtually connecting everyone and everything in the local area. Hayi is very popular among neighbors 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 organize local community events.

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

“We are honoured to have such strong investors who recognize 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 to obtain a high user retention and engagement rate. Today, we have become the primary communication channel in vibrant neighborhoods such as Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) in Dubai. Our goal is to focus on expanding into new areas and fostering a stronger feeling of community throughout Dubai and the UAE,” he added.

Hayi is utilizing its first-mover advantage in the region to become MENA’s first neighborhood app. Inspired by the global successes of unicorn neighborhood 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 neighborhood 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 neighborhood 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 neighborhood being verified. This adopts accountability and openness, two essential elements of community formation. Its burgeoning neighborhood 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 neighborhoods in Dubai, with many local success stories in JVC. For example, besides neighbors 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 neighbor in her building came to help her out!

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

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff at LAFFAZ encompasses fandoms of startup culture, crazy researchers, data analysts and writers who decrypt strenuous information into graspable news, produce noteworthy features and compelling stories.

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