In a rapidly evolving landscape characterized by the intersection of Web3 innovation and the pressing need for climate action, Enjinstarter MENA has emerged as a prominent player fostering impactful change. This top-tier blockchain launchpad has supported numerous groundbreaking projects and also positioned itself as a key catalyst in the global fight against climate change.
We had the esteemed opportunity of sitting down with the managing director of Enjinstarter, Vasseh Ahmed. He brings over 15 years of extensive expertise in Wealth Management and FinTech leadership roles across emerging markets in the GCC and South Asia region, working as Head of Digitization Strategy at Zand, Head of Strategy at Aion Digital and Chief Investment Officer at Faysal Asset Management. He joined Enjinstarter as the MD for MENA with the ambition to help all aspiring businesses set up and launch their Web 3 strategies using Enjinstarter. Vasseh is very passionate about the adoption of Web3 and is keen to help raise awareness and position the company at the center of the Web3 evolution in the region.
Explore the successful journey of Enjinstarter as Vasseh Ahmed, shares insights into the company's evolution and its impact on the Web3 and sustainability ecosystems.
From its inception in 2021 to supporting 80 companies, Enjinstarter's journey has been marked by strategic pivots and a firm commitment to sustainability. Their story reflects a proactive approach to adapting to the dynamic Web3 industry. Initially, they worked on gaming, entertainment, and metaverse projects, however, they shifted towards AI-integrated Web3 initiatives during the challenging crypto winter.
Vasseh Ahmed shares the company’s emphasis on sustainability which led them to integrate impactful models into their business framework. He says,
“Since helping Web3 projects raise funds and scale was our core business, we decided that an impact-focused version of the same model would be the most effective way for us to contribute to the fight against climate change.”
As part of their commitment, they are launching AYA, a platform pending approval from Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).
The name ‘AYA’ has a meaningful origin, as it translates to ‘new beginnings’ and ‘miracles’ in Arabic. This name reflects the idea of starting fresh, the wonder of change, and the potential for transformation, all of which are essential in addressing the climate crisis. The platform aims to empower innovators to think innovatively and supports their vision for a sustainable future. Vasseh says,
“With this foundation, we want to enable innovators to think bold and give them every chance to realize their vision for a sustainable future.”
Enjinstarter's decision to establish AYA in Dubai was influenced largely by Dubai's Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA). With Dubai's growing reputation as a progressive hub for technology and finance, the emirate has showcased its commitment to nurturing a flourishing Web3 ecosystem by incorporating crucial elements such as favorable tax incentives, public financing, and robust stakeholder support. This comprehensive environment has attracted key global industry players.
VARA was transparent in guiding them through the application process, outlining expectations and necessary documentation. He shares,
“There is an open channel of communication between us that really demonstrates just how serious Dubai is in fostering a Web3 and sustainability ecosystem. Initial approval was the first milestone on the journey to a full VASP license.”
AYA’s areas of focus, such as reforestation, nature credits, mangrove preservation, and sustainable agriculture, have been selected based on their considerable influence in addressing the challenges of climate change.
AYA has collaborated with the Storey Group to orchestrate the mangrove planting campaign at the Future Blockchain Summit. At the event, every visitor was given the opportunity to contribute to the crucial battle against climate change. The opportunity to have a mangrove tree planted in your name is still open on the AYA website.
Although individual contributions may have seemed small, the collective effort made a significant impact in safeguarding Dubai from the risks associated with rising sea levels. The initiative not only emphasized the importance of collective action but also demonstrated the growing enthusiasm for sustainability within the industry. Furthermore, the event served as a platform for industry leaders and enthusiasts to gather, highlighting the increasing focus on Web3 projects with practical applications.
AYA's presence in Dubai significantly contributes to the collective battle against climate change. It serves as a platform to accelerate the pace of climate innovation and action. They also look forward to collaborating with visionary founders and projects aligned with their focus areas. Vasseh shares,
“We are looking to work with founders and projects that have a unique proposition within our key focus areas, helping them build their product narrative, raise capital, and launch their tokens.”
Dubai's emergence as an appealing hub for technology and climate startups enables AYA to attract top talent and investment.
Enjinstarter has successfully secured US$5 million in its Series A round from True Global Ventures. The fundraising round was smooth and underscored the trust and belief that True Global Ventures had in Enjinstarter's vision from the outset. True Global Ventures has a good track record of investing in successful Web3 projects like Animoca Brands, The Sandbox, and Ledger. This investment was a significant milestone in their journey and validated their role as a key player in the Web3 industry.
AYA's strategy revolves around aiding the upcoming wave of climate innovation through comprehensive support for early-stage climate startups. Their launchpad and advisory platform are designed to facilitate fundraising for these startups, while their incubator assists in refining their product-market strategies and preparing them for expansion. AYA's network of investors, climate advocates, and corporations will also play a pivotal role in offering opportunities, feedback, and amplifying the overall impact of these initiatives.
AYA specifically targets climate tech and climate finance startups that incorporate blockchain or Web3 technologies in their solutions. This includes various endeavors such as carbon capture, dMRV (digital monitoring, reporting, and verification), blue carbon credits, renewable energy projects, and novel climate financing mechanisms. Vasseh also shares AYA’s interest in supporting media projects like documentaries and podcasts that spotlight the role of Web3 in addressing climate change and highlighting the individuals driving these crucial efforts.
“AYA’s primary goal can be boiled down to one simple notion: a sustainable future for all,”
says Vasseh Ahmed.
He also mentions how MENA happens to be a region suffering mightily under the weight of climate change. Recognizing the massive financial requirements to address existing environmental damage and reverse climate change, AYA acknowledges the existence of the necessary capital. He says,
“We know that trillions are needed just to address the damage that has already been done, and trillions more are needed to actually reverse climate change. But we also know that this capital exists. It just lacks the mechanisms to find its way to the front lines.”
AYA strives to fill this gap, aspiring to serve as the mechanism for this capital flow and inspire others to do the same. Its mission aligns with the broader narrative of global climate change and sustainability efforts. AYA also emphasizes the critical need for concrete action rather than just talk. With too many years spent discussing solutions with little tangible progress, AYA aims to stimulate climate innovation for a sustainable future by encouraging active participation.
AYA's role is to minimize the obstacles to climate action and provide a roadmap for identifying, assessing, and assisting climate startups, whether they are addressing local challenges or tackling significant global issues. Vasseh shares,
“We hope others follow our lead because the only way to truly address the climate crisis is to work together towards a shared vision.”
With AYA's upcoming launch and its continued commitment to fostering climate innovation, Enjinstarter MENA is poised to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change, not only in the MENA region but on a global scale.