Local Business

Neighbourhood app, Hayi, to create stronger and more connected communities

Rohma Sadaqat /Dubai
rohma@khaleejtimes.com Filed on July 29, 2021
The newly launched app will bring people closer together, and enable businesses to create a digital presence within their local communities

Neighbours using the app can engage with an interactive map of their neighbourhood where they can connect with other neighbours who share similar interests to their own

Neighbourhood app, Hayi, has announced its launch in the UAE with the aim of digitizing neighbourhoods in the emirates and across the Mena region to create 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 Neighbourhood’ 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, are childhood friends, and have 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 more than 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, and carpooling.

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 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 organised offline social initiatives as well, which included clean-up drives, recycling events and mental wellness webinars.

Chris Darnell, co-founder and CEO of Hayi, 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.”

Rene Morgan, co-founder and 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.



Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.

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