UAE Tech App Zbooni Raises USD 1.1 Million New Funding

Wednesday 19 June 2019
Ramy Assaf, CEO of Zbooni
Dubai - MENA Herald:

Homegrown UAE company Zbooni has announced it has just closed its latest funding round of USD 1.1 million from Chalhoub Group and B&Y Venture Partners to continue to grow the business. With a strong growth record over two years, it is handling millions of dirhams of sale transactions per month through its connected chat commerce app. The app is designed specifically for the needs of merchants in a social first era, helping them convert sale through easy payment with customers via services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. The company was founded in 2017 and was one of only eight companies across the world, and the only one from the Middle East, to take part in a six-month incubator programme at Facebook, the world’s largest social media network.  

Ramy Assaf, CEO of Zbooni: “Business is increasingly done through WhatsApp and social media services such as Instagram and Facebook. These channels are the modern equivalent of shop windows that showcase a merchant’s products and services to the world, but consumers want to engage before they transact. Zbooni connects merchants with customers while providing an easy way to make payments. We see strong demand from businesses in the UAE for this service, with the transaction volumes consistently growing at above 30% month-on-month. Transacting millions of dirhams of sales every month was a key milestone for us as the business continues to expand.”

Zbooni predicts that, by transacting payments via connected chat that are currently not being captured online, it is addressing a multi-billion dollar market. Here in the MENA region alone there are around 3.5million SMEs who could benefit from the technology. The app was entirely developed by an in-house team, and paired to a trusted payment gateway (Payfort), which is the same credit card processing used by big name ecommerce sites such as Souq and Amazon. Recently, Stripe was also added as a payment gateway option.

Assaf continued: “SMEs are the fuel for economies and the UAE Vision 2021 clearly outlines the need to support these businesses, especially through technology. We developed the app specifically to help traders, merchants and retailers who simply want to sell digitally and offer a convenient method for checkout to their customers.”

In addition to traditional businesses, Zbooni also enables more casual users, such as those who may have side businesses or significant social media following (influencers), with a way of selling items and services directly through chat. There are a wide range of businesses selling on Zbooni too, with everything from cake shops to artists, basketball clubs to fashion outlets, even medical clinics.

Zbooni merchants see higher conversion on their sales funnel when using the app. Self-service e-commerce sites generally have conversion rates of around 2% - in other words, once an individual

clicks on an item, there is a very low chance they will go through and complete purchase on their own. However, with Zbooni, because the merchant and customer are always connected through their preferred messaging apps, once a cart is shared with the customer, there is an 84% chance of closing a transaction.  

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