Alumni Business Person of the Year entrant – Dr Najam Kidwai

Alumni Business Person of the Year entrant – Dr Najam Kidwai
Posted on 25.04.23
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Alumni Business Person of the Year entrant – Dr Najam Kidwai

Dr Najam Kidwai’s rise to success is nothing short of a fairytale. Entirely self-made, he is the founder and chairman of Crypto 1, the world’s first Crypto special purpose acquisition company which listed on the Nasdaq in December 2021 and raised $230million.

This is the story of a man who went from living on economy baked beans and pizza while a student at Staffordshire University to later setting himself the challenge to eat at every Michelin starred restaurant in the world – and achieving it.

Najam is the founder of the world’s largest digital assets focused secondaries fund, where he recently raised $500M, and was a co-founder of

An active investor in technology globally, he studied Technology Management at Staffordshire University’s Stafford campus from 1988 to 1992.

He has more than 30 years of experience of leading product and business development, investment and operational management in technology, e-commerce and financial services.

He was a co-founder and board member of EQUIAM, a leading, private-markets-focused venture capital fund. Through EQUIAM he has invested in technology companies including Coinbase and Robinhood.

Najam has also been investing in digital assets, crypto and blockchain since 2016, including companies such as

He has served as an independent advisor, board member, and/or investor in technology companies including ForgeGlobal and Boxed (Giddy Inc) and has served in similar roles with Neurable, Cleartrip (acquired by FlipKart), InMobi, Servify, ToTheNew Ventures and Asia Innovations.

Now living in Dubai, Najam had what he calls a ‘working class and humble’ upbringing in Bradford.

“We were poor but I didn’t feel poor,” he says. “My parents didn’t go to university but they valued the power of education and instilled that in us.”

He says his years at Staffordshire University were transformative and helped to set him on the path to success.

“Staffordshire University opened my eyes that the world was a much broader place. I met people from all walks of life and from different cities and found out about parts of England that I didn’t even know existed before.”

Najam says he chose to study technology management because it was a new degree and broad in scope which was “great from a learning perspective.”

“It gave me a really good base on how to think about companies and how to think about HR, management and marketing.

“I do a lot around technology and innovation. If I hadn’t have had that grounding in Staffordshire maybe I wouldn’t have had as much interest in that going forward.”

Najam has entered the Alumni Business Person of the Year category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards.

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