Dubai start-up focused on mothers Omooma secures $2.5m funding

The Arabic-language content platform is aiming for a paid subscriber base of 10,000 as it seeks to expand operations

Left to right, the Omooma team of presenter Sarah Barhoush, chief executive and co-founder Romain Ollivier, and co-founders Pierre Gillet and Charles Dalle. Photo: Omooma
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Omooma, an Arabic-language start-up focused on pregnancy, maternity and motherhood, has secured $2.5 million in funding from Abu Dhabi-based E20 Investment, which it will use for the expansion of its operations and workforce.

The Dubai-based start-up, which has an estimated annual audience of 4.5 million expectant mothers and women from the GCC and other Arabic-speaking countries, will use the funding to drive its goal of reaching 10,000 paid subscribers out of a potential pool of 300,000 users by the end of 2022, Omooma said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Based on the development of our needs, we'll keep hiring people. We will be quite aggressive in terms of development because we have the funding to do it and we'll hire accordingly," Charles Dalle, co-founder of Omooma, told The National.

"We are also going to expand operations in other regions at a later stage, and [next] most probably will be in India."

As economies in the Middle East and North Africa continue to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, investors are allocating more cash to promising start-ups, which in turn is helping the ecosystem grow and mature further.

Total funding secured by Mena start-ups more than doubled to about $864 million in the first quarter of 2022, with the number of deals rising by 16 per cent, according to data platform Magnitt.

Start-ups in the UAE accounted for 27.3 per cent of all deals closed across the Mena region and 34.4 per cent of all funding raised.

Dubai alone is home to nearly 39 per cent of the fastest-growing start-ups in the region, the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy said in a recent report.

Omooma, set up in 2021, offers access to a stream of at-your-pace learning on motherhood-related courses that give expert advice and information.

It has more than 15 hours of video content that includes 21 courses and 250-plus videos, featuring scientific advice offered by 29 Arab medical, lifestyle, well-being and financial experts from across the region.

Omooma aims to double the volume of its exclusive content and increase its experts to more than 40 by the end of 2022, it said.

The platform's current content is primarily focused on mothers and 1-year-old children, but the start-up is planning to expand its scope all the way to 16-year-olds, Mr Dalle said.

It is also planning to offer its video courses to hospitals, clinics and medical practitioners, as well as to companies and organisations that want to add value to their female patients or employees.

Omooma is also preparing to launch its mobile app by the end of July or early August, Mr Dalle said.

"We are currently developing the app and it's almost done. We've made lots of improvements in the app and in the community," he said.

“In addition to the educational content, Omooma will also act as a community for Arab women who want to exchange ideas, get answers and raise queries."

Along with offering support to women, the platform also "enhances the volume of professionally curated and created science-based Arabic content available online", said Romain Ollivier, co-founder and chief executive of Omooma.

Omooma's backer, investment company E20, "will remain the sole investor in the start-up and has committed to further funding for future growth", the statement said.

Updated: July 13, 2022, 9:35 AM