Nuqtah nabs seed funding from Polygon, boosts Saudi NFT scene
Saudi Arabian NFT marketplace Nuqtah has raised seed funding from top crypto firms Animoca Brands and Polygon. The funding will be used to scale up the business over the next 12 months, focusing on product development, marketing, and talent acquisition.
Animoca Brands leads seed capital raise for Nuqtah
Hong Kong-based Animoca Brands, an investor and open-metaverse projects incubator, is leading the seed-round capital raise for Nuqtah, marking the company’s continued expansion into the Middle East. Polygon, a leading Ethereum “layer 2” platform, is also participating in the round, along with several regional Middle Eastern investors.
Nuqtah, the first non-fungible token marketplace developed and launched in Saudi Arabia, has the distinction of being officially licensed by the kingdom’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Ministry of Investment. This strong regulatory backing provides a significant advantage for the crypto startup in the current global environment.
Nuqtah’s entry into the NFT market comes at the perfect time
Saudi Arabia is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and the MENA region as a whole is becoming increasingly tech-focused and open to digital innovation. This makes Nuqtah’s entry into the market well-timed and well-positioned.
The CEO and founder of Nuqtah, Salwa Radwi, is an award-winning photographer, artist, and blockchain advocate. As one of the first female CEOs in Saudi Arabia’s Web3 landscape, Radwi brings a fresh perspective to the platform. She launched Nuqtah in 2021 in Riyadh alongside co-founders with experience at major companies such as Careem and Oracle.
Why Saudi Arabia can foster rapid NFT and web3 growth
The MENA region, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, is rapidly embracing web3 and the metaverse, with a Strategy & Middle East report estimating a $15 billion annual contribution to the Gulf economy by 2030. The region has become an attractive hub for investments and partnerships in web3 and metaverse projects due to its proactive approach towards regulation and government support. In contrast, the West continues to grapple with regulating these emerging technologies.
The metaverse is projected to contribute $7.6 billion and $3.3 billion annually to the GDPs of Saudi Arabia and the UAE by 2030. Numerous initiatives support these predictions, including Saudi Arabia’s $6.4 billion tech fund and Neom’s $1 billion commitment to a “cognitive metaverse project.” Dubai’s strategic plan aims to inject $4 billion into the economy while creating over 40,000 jobs by 2030, and Abu Dhabi recently launched a $2 billion initiative backing web3 startups.
The MENA region’s clear legal framework and government support make it an attractive destination for web3 investments. The UAE, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has established regulations governing virtual asset trading and investment. In March 2022, Dubai formed the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA), while Abu Dhabi’s Financial Services and Markets Regulations 2015 (FSMR) amended its regulatory framework in 2018 to include crypto services.
Saudi Arabia, though lacking the same structure for digital asset investment, has embraced non-fungible tokens, which are not classified as cryptocurrencies. Government-backed metaverse projects, like Muraab “Metaverse Cube” in Riyadh’s New Murabba and Sharjaverse in UAE’s Sharjah City, demonstrate the region’s commitment to web3 and metaverse technologies, positioning it as a global leader in these emerging fields. Nuqtah’s NFT marketplace is just one of the latter in this category.