Social networking start-up Yalla Group has just become the UAE’s first tech unicorn to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), earning the praise of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Headquartered in Dubai Internet City, the company behind the voice-chat platform with more than 5 million paid users, announced on Wednesday its listing on the American market for the first time.

The company, whose investors include Chinese investment group Orchid Asia Group Management and global quantitative trading firm SIG China, is looking to raise roughly $149 million from the sale of its shares.

“From Dubai Internet City, the social networking platform ‘Yalla Group’ is the first unicorn UAE-based technology company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange,” the Dubai ruler said on Twitter.

“Our digital economy is growing and will remain an integral part of our exports globally,” he added.

The voice-centric social app was launched in 2016. During the first half of the year, the company reported a net profit of more than $25 million.

Its monthly user base has reached 12.5 million, while the number of paying customers stood at 5.4 million as of June this year.

The features of Yalla Group’s app include public chat rooms, virtual gifts and games. Its users are mainly from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

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