Dubai start-up initiates #halfAdate campaign

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UAE-based start-up, Melltoo Marketplace has launched its #halfAdate campaign for the Holy Month of Ramadan, donating funds to Human Appeal International’s Ramadhan Iftar programme.

The campaign urges UAE residents to contribute “half a date” by posting an item of theirs for sale on the Melltoo mobile app while the company will contribute the other “half a date” by donating AED5 for each ad posted.

Proceeds from the sale of the item are for the seller and Melltoo will claim no part.

“People really like the idea of cause marketing, or marketing for a good cause, and we have gotten overwhelmingly positive feedback,” said Sharene Lee, who co-founded Melltoo with her husband Morrad Irsane.

“People want to support charitable causes and they are particularly willing to do so on social media.”

In just a few days, the campaign brought a 60 percent increase in (in-app) posts week-on-week and attracted 70,000 Twitter timeline views with users engaging mainly during the time of Iftar, from 4 pm to 7pm, and after 10pm.

A mobile-only, social marketplace for buying and selling pre-loved belongings, Melltoo, was launched thisMarch in in5, a Dubai Internet City initiative.

In spite of more than 25,000 downloads so far, Melltoo’s founders have faced difficulties in financing the start-up, an issue which gave them the idea for #halfAdate.

“I was looking at my budget to see what I could use for charitable causes. I couldn’t cut on salaries, rent and electricity but I saw that there was an amount going to Facebook and Google for advertising,” explains Irsane.

“Those companies don’t need my money. I would much rather give this money to charity.

“My wife and I built Melltoo because we believe that reselling and reusing is necessary for a sustainable economy.

“Part of sustainability is also helping the less fortunate that live with us and among us.”

For more information about Melltoo and the #halfAdate campaign, visit, and

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