UAE’s latest social network app, Hayi, is here to set a new benchmark for connected communities. A hyperlocal social networking app, Hayi seeks to digitise neighbourhoods in the UAE and across the MENA region to create stronger and more connected communities, bringing a significant solution to the social impacts of the pandemic and modern-day city life as a whole. By creating stronger and more connected communities, Hayi aims to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation, increase expat retention and provide general support to all neighbourhood stakeholders by promoting positivity and a more connected, neighbourly community.
“Hayi” which translates to “My Neighborhood” in Arabic, encourages residents to connect and befriend each other, create groups based on their location’s proximity, shared interests and preferences, in addition to creating and taking part in social initiatives and activities around their communities. The founders of the app, Chris Darnell and Rene Morgan, who are young and enthusiastic expats and friends since childhood, created the Hayi app with the intention of bridging the communication gap between three key stakeholders; neighbours, community managers and local businesses. Hayi has aligned its vision with the UAE Government in that a smart city starts with a smart neighbourhood, with a mission to become the largest and most trusted social network for neighbourhoods in the MENA region.
Since its pilot phase, the ‘neighbourhood app’ has been linking and bringing residents from all backgrounds in the UAE together through its inventive digital platform, and has already rolled out across 20+ neighbourhoods in Dubai with more than 6,000 verified app users. With a unique neighbour verification process to sign up, Hayi ensures that neighbourhoods are kept genuine. The app acts as a hyper-local social network and offers users the ability to connect residents with one another through a home feed where information can be shared or questions exchanged amongst neighbours, as well as a private messaging feature, allowing users to communicate with one another directly. Neighbours can also engage with an interactive map of their neighbourhood where they can connect with other neighbours who share similar interests to their own; such as tennis, fitness boot camps, carpooling, etc.
The Hayi app also aims to assist local businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic by offering a more engaging way to build a digital presence within their local communities. The platform allows businesses to take advantage of hyper-local marketing where they can promote exclusive offers to neighbourhoods of their choice, thereby reducing their ad spend as well as enabling them to reach their relevant customer base more efficiently. Hayi will also provide all community managers across the region with free access to their digital communities to better connect with residents and share real-time community updates via a punchy digital noticeboard.
The startup has partnered with prominent developers and organizations such as Nakheel, Damac, Dubai Municipality and Bee’ah, to help manage their community announcements and events more efficiently. Hayi has already begun creating stronger social bonds across several neighbourhoods through successfully organized offline social initiatives as well, which included clean-up drives, recycling events and mental wellness webinars.
Commenting on the launch of the neighbourhood app, Co-Founder & CEO of Hayi, Chris Darnell, said: “We are thrilled to be launching Hayi, a platform which we truly believe is going to positively impact residential communities across the UAE. Our inspiration behind creating the Hayi app was wanting people to feel more connected and engaged in their local community, but also promoting a strong sense of positivity between one another through our exclusive, trusted and secure mobile application. Hyper-local and the local communities have never been as important as they are today, especially after living a year with Covid-19 and the social distancing measures.”
Further to helping neighbourhoods in building stronger bonds, Rene Morgan, Co-Founder & COO of Hayi, stated: “Hayi is a neighbourhood social network, just like LinkedIn is a professional network. What makes it unique is that it encapsulates the greater vision of connecting communities, digitizing neighbourhoods and empowering local businesses around the UAE.”
Hayi was founded in September 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic with the goal of bringing people closer together online and offline. The free-of-charge, exclusive mobile app has been running successfully since its beta launch with more than 6,000 verified users across Dubai, with ongoing plans and efforts to expand to other GCC countries. Hayi has attracted initial investment from strategic investors and is actively looking to raise additional funding to further develop its features and expand into new neighbourhoods.