Climbing the top of global finance with creativity and passion
| Партньорска програма
You founded your first company when you were only 24 years old. Can you tell us about your background, challenges, and achievements associated with this venture?
I started my professional career very early on. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 3 instead of 4 years and I was already doing an internship during my last year in the program. So, at a young age, I already had corporate experience.
Being based in a very entrepreneurial country (UAE) makes you want to launch a project or be part of something more creative. My first own venture came along quite naturally. At the time I was very interested in research and found an ongoing article about bringing Islamic fixed-income investment products onto the blockchain. The idea was so interesting and impactful that I and my cofounders turned it into a venture, Wethaq.
As a young entrepreneur I had to face all the typical challenges coming with your first venture. I was still working at an investment structuring desk full-time and finding the right balance between my job and my own venture was just impossible.
I quickly realised that running a business was a very different experience than fitting into the corporate world. From getting started and scaling to staying on top of the game, board meetings, business plans, and investment – it all brought its own set of challenges.
Despite that, I still believe challenges provide the best opportunities to learn and grow. Wethaq was a constant source of knowledge and experience. I was blessed to work with extremely bright people from different backgrounds. The environment was very stimulating and I learned a lot from them.
But with continuous learning, research, and implementation of proven strategies, the company jump-started and was thriving. We always focused on innovation, which led the company to achieve massive growth.
With Wethaq I completed the full entrepreneurial cycle by successfully exiting the company in 2020. Besides the experience and knowledge, I received something equally important – confidence. To succeed in such a challenging sector was extremely pleasing, especially when having in mind that almost 90% of startups eventually fail.
What qualities does a lady need to break into the predominantly male world of finance?
From the beginning of my finance journey, I had always been in a dominantly male environment. But it never bothered me, and I didn’t give importance to gender when conducting business. In the financial world, there is a lot of competition, and it can be difficult to stand out. However, if someone has intelligence, creativity, determination, and passion for finance then they will be successful no matter what gender they are. I believe that everyone (male and female) should learn continuously so that they can reach their full potential in this industry.
Being a woman in the financial industry allows you, even more, to stand out and achieve what you want. One of the key aspects that you should always keep in mind is to think outside the box. Be confident, articulate and have a good sense of problem-solving besides being an expert in your field. Most people might not expect that you are a pro which gives you massive opportunities and a headstart to achieve exactly what you want.
The only time I was actually afraid of facing challenges as a woman was when I went ahead specializing in Islamic Finance and even participated as a speaker at Islamic Finance themed events. I was worried to not be misunderstood or judged, but on the contrary, I received very positive feedback for my work.
As a female, I probably have faced some level of prejudgement but it has never stopped me. I think it all comes down to deliverables, regardless if you are an employee or a partner. My goal is always to deliver outstanding results and make sure that my project/company has value added. This is something that I have been focusing on my whole career and it has helped me in getting the respect and wanting from the team. Experience and skills contribute towards the success of a career, not gender.
As part of the Swissborg Ventures team and co-founder of Genesis Capital-LATAM, you are working on some extremely exciting deals. Will you tell us about some of them?
Indeed, one of the deals I am very proud of taking part in through SwissBorg Ventures is Limewire. We were one of the VCs investing in the $10.4m round alongside Kraken Ventures, Arrington Capital, GSR, Crypto.com Capital, and a few more industry giants. Another recent deal we were part of was Sweat Economy, the app has an impressive 10 million+ daily active users. We invested in the $13M seed funding round of Sweatcoin, from the Sweat Economy team, alongside some of the biggest names in crypto such as Electric Capital, Spartan Capital, Jump Crypto, GSR, and the NEAR Foundation. While in Genesis Capital-LATAM we reached $30m AUM under our arbitrage strategy only kicking it off from scratch in 2020 and consistently delivered safe returns despite the global capital markets turbulence.
You have recently started a new business venture. Would you tell us more about the idea behind it and the prospects for its development?
The latest venture that I co-founded back in 2020 is Boundlesspay, which took almost 2 years until go-to-market. Boundlesspay is an application that empowers its users to transact and spend crypto seamlessly and conveniently. We achieved exciting results such as 300% growth in the last quarter, and a $1m transaction volume processed completely organically without external funding or marketing.
As an exciting new step we also added virtual cards and bank accounts for users which effectively aids financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa, which is our core market. Further down the road we are planning the launch of a debit card and crypto loans, as well as the expansion of the utilities payments to more countries all in a Shariah-compliant manner.
What are your long-term plans, and where do you see yourself in 10 years?
The plan is to continue supporting innovative technologies and making a positive impact. Being in an early-stage VC, I have an outlook on the whole industry and have access to the latest technologies, innovation and the best founders. Its a very dynamic work and lifestyle, like one day having a meeting with a founder of a new protocol who used to work with Mark Zuckerberg and the next day flying to Singapore for a conference to speak alongside global leaders.
I have been investing throughout my life starting from FX in my teen years, to trading at institutional desk to managing our own AUM (Assets Under Management) and private equity. So for sure I will still remain in the industry under some shape or form.