Dubai startup Zbooni, a tech app, has closed its latest funding round of $1.1m raised from Chalhoub Group and B&Y Venture Partners, it announced on Wednesday.
The amount raised will be used to expand operations, a statement said.
Founded in 2017, the connected chat commerce app assists companies to boost sales via WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook.
It was one of eight companies across the world, and the only one from the Middle East, to take part in a six-month incubator programme at Facebook.
“Business is increasingly done through WhatsApp and social media services such as Instagram and Facebook,” said Ramy Assaf, CEO of Zbooni.
“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 per cent month-on-month. Transacting millions of dirhams of sales every month was a key milestone for us as the business continues to expand.”
The app was entirely developed by an in-house team, and paired to payment gateway Payfort. Recently, Stripe was also added as a payment gateway option.
Assaf added: “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.”
Along with traditional businesses, Zbooni also works with those who may have side businesses or influencers to help them sell items and services directly through chat.
There are currently a range of businesses selling on Zbooni, including cake shops, artists, basketball clubs, fashion outlets and medical clinics.
How the app works-
* Businesses: Download the Zbooni app, set up an account, describe the products that they want to sell (with the price) and then share the link with customers via any messaging platform – such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Instagram DM.
* Consumers: Customers receive the link, where they can review the items and price, and make the payment. There is no need for the customer to download Zbooni, as they can access the payment page via their mobile browser.
At any stage, the merchant or customer can discuss additions or amendments to the order. Both receive automated invoices, as soon as payment is made.