Dubai-based Enhance has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Saudi VC iNet, 500 Startups Shorooq Investments, and some angel investors from Gulf, Europe, and United States.
Founded in 2015 by Alper Tunga Celen & Ritesh Tilani, Enhance is a holding company that builds different technology ventures. Joi, the Dubai-based gifting platform is their first venture that was launched in 2015 and is currently available in all the big cities of UAE & Saudi. Joi is one of the only regional gifting platforms that has presence in multiple markets. The platform currently offers a selection of 4,000 curated gift items from more than 200 merchants.
“It has been a great experience building an offline to online migration platform like joi. We now plan to use this experience to continue joi’s rapid growth and launch other vertical marketplaces that benefit from joi’s capabilities,” said co-founder Ritesh Tilani. “With iNet, 500 Startups, Shorooq Investments and other prominent investors onboard, we have access to great regional and global know-how and funding which will be instrumental in the next phase of our growth.”
Joi has been growing 15% MoM and is ready to expand to two more countries within next few months. And that is what Enhance aims to use the funding for, expanding Joi to rest of the Middle East.
Enhance currently has its offices in Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Cairo with marketing, technical, and operational talent. The company hopes to use these resources to build ventures beyond its current portfolio in subsequent vertical marketplaces.
“We have been involved in the startup ecosystem in the region from its early days as founders and angel investors and directly experienced the unique challenges of building startups in the Middle East,” said Alper Celen, the co-founder of Enhance. “A Silicon Valley startup has immediate access to hundreds of millions of consumers in one market. In the Middle East, we have a fragmented market with different regulations, and fundraising remains a major challenge. Enhance is built to mitigate these challenges by being able to reuse its infrastructure, marketing, technical and funding resources across different businesses.”
Abdullah Altamami, Investments Director for iNet, speaking about the investment said: “We believe in Enhance because of the experience and strong work ethic its founders bring to the table, and also because the Enhance model increases chances of success given the unique challenges in the markets it targets. During this time of inflection in our ecosystem, Enhance promises to build great businesses that will offer better digital experiences to consumers, who are increasingly moving online.”