2021, The Year That Was: Salwa Radwi, Founder, Nuqtah
Having recently closed a pre-seed round led by Shorooq Partners, Nuqtah, which was also part of the Sanabil 500 MENA seed accelerator program, aims to be "the ultimate environment" for creatives in Saudi Arabia.
With the non-fungible token (NFT) market estimated to be worth more than US$7 billion by JP Morgan Chase in November this year, the space is proving to be a draw for entrepreneurs from around the world, and that includes Salwa Radwi, the founder and CEO of Nuqtah, a business that proudly declares to be Saudi Arabia’s first NFT marketplace.
Having recently closed a pre-seed round led by Shorooq Partners, Nuqtah, which was also part of the Sanabil 500 MENA seed accelerator program, aims to be “the ultimate environment” for creatives in Saudi Arabia. Besides offering a space for them to sell their artworks in a safe and secure manner, it also aims to enable a new breed of art collectors.
“We are currently witnessing the revolution of what is known as the internet, not only with blockchain technology, but ownership of virtual assets through NFTs,” Radwi says. “With the fast-paced growth of the world wide web, we are now recreating historical content for our future generations to see… The creative works we leave behind as a society will define how future generations understand us, and that is a crucial responsibility. What better time to do so than now, in the midst of the Saudi creative revolution, right from the pulse of one of the most creative economies the world has ever seen. How’s that for leaving a mark!”
Image courtesy Nuqtah.
Radwi’s excitement about Nuqtah and the future in general can be disconcerting for those of us who are still cautious about entering the NFT space, given that it still remains largely untapped territory, and as such, can come across as a rather scary, risk-filled domain. But Radwi urges us to embrace such fears, and boldly venture into this market- the rewards are worth it, she says, citing the “if it doesn’t scare you, it’s not big enough” school of thought to make her point.
“Something about coming out of a pandemic has made us all a little too risk-centric, I believe,” Radwi says. “The passion to make a change, the drive to innovate in completely new spaces, and the instinct to deflect comfort has been a key factor in most of my business and personal decisions lately, resulting in access to doors and opportunities that I would not have imagined. If I had one key takeaway to give others from my experiences in 2021, it would most definitely be to do it because it scares you. If it doesn’t, it’s not worthy of your time. Being a female entrepreneur in Saudi Arabia, intersecting blockchain technology, NFTs, and creativity in a region that is newly flourishing these industries, scary and excited are definitely my main two favorite feelings!”
Nuqtah founder Salwa Radwi with COO Bayan Jamal. Image courtesy Nuqtah.
Reflections 2021: Salwa Radwi, Founder, Nuqtah
Never underestimate the power of being genuine. “We live in a day where we scroll and double tap on engineered lifestyles, where we introduce ourselves by where we work, and not who we are as individuals. When you are true to yourself, only then will people believe in what you do, only then is it genuine enough to be worthy of advocacy, or that double tap.”
Values first. “When we are constantly being surrounded by noise, it can be pretty easy to lose our grounds. Sticking to the values our families and friends have instilled in us since day one is the only way you can ensure prosperity. It is those same values that keep your team happy, grow your business, and keep the door for blessings open.”
“Being ready” is overrated. “We’ve all heard of passion being a main driver, and 'finding just the right niche' being a key factor to kicking off as an entrepreneur. Although they are crucial, here is a message to all individuals who have had their ideas locked away in drawers, awaiting the right moment to bring them out: there is no right moment. Bring out those notebooks, and pitch it to the right people, to those who believe in you, and believe in your cause. Do it now, do it scared, and do it well. That is the fastest way of bringing alive your midnight thoughts, and catapulting your journey as an entrepreneur.”
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.