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Mariam Nusrat, Founder and CEO, GRID

Mariam Nusrat: Unleashing the Power of No-code to Transform Interactive Content Creation

From games like snake, space impact to games like angry birds and Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG), we have witnessed a drastic transformation in the gaming industry.

Studies reveal that the gaming industry that was valued at USD 173.70 billion in 2020 is expected to reach a value of USD 314.40 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 9.64% over 2021-2026. What was earlier considered a waste of time is now a billion-dollar industry. It is because many ingenious minds have joined the gaming industry and changed the way people think about video games. And the good news is that women entrepreneurs have also made significant contributions to shape the future of the industry.

Meet Mariam Nusrat, an innovator and the Founder of GRID, a tech startup unleashing the power of video games to educate, engage and empower people. Mariam and her team are building Breshna, a no-code platform that empowers users to create their own purposeful mini video games at lightning speed. It’s the lightning speed that gives Breshna its name (the word Breshna means lightning in the Pashto language, Mariam’s mother tongue).

We at Insights Success caught up with Mariam to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey and contribution to enhancing the gaming industry.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Brief our audience about your journey as an entrepreneur until your current position at the company. What challenges have you overcome to reach where you are today?

Having grown up playing games such as Sim City, I knew games leave an impression on our brains that transcends the boundaries of the virtual world. I wondered to myself, if games on building cities can teach urban planning, can games focusing on environmental awareness promote climate action, those about women’s rights promote equality, or those building humane education improve animal welfare? Games have the power to leave an impression on our brains that far transcends the boundaries of the virtual world, and I am committed to leveraging this power to inspire social change.

I have more than a decade of experience in the education and purposeful games industries.

For this work, I have been recognized on the Forbes Next 1000 entrepreneur list and received the Clinton Global Initiative Honor Roll Award. But I have not done this work alone.

When they say it takes a village, it really does! I would not be where I am today had it not been for my family, friends, collaborators, investors & the GRID team, and especially my COO (and brother) Rizwan Nusrat!

For the past year, I have focused my entrepreneurial efforts on building Breshna under a new venture-backed C-corp. We have only been incorporated for 7 months, but we’ve made mad progress. We launched Breshna’s MVP with a game jam and had 6k users create 1k video games in 96 hours. We have 9 B2B partnerships aimed at getting Breshna in the hands of users. We are also oversubscribed at our $1m seed round.

Tell us something more about the company and its mission and vision.

We are building for the complete democratization of the purposeful games industry; A day when everyone, irrespective of their knowledge of coding or design, is empowered to create their own videos to inspire positive impact. With Breshna, everyone can be a game developer

So think about a teacher who wants to make math learning fun; she can transform a math quiz into a super mario like game, where kids have to catch the right answer and dodge the wrong ones.

Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the gaming industry through your expertise in the market.

At GRID, we are changing how video games are created & used.

Video games are powerful communication tools. The impact they leave on our brains far transcends the virtual boundaries in which we play them! There is an opportunity to leverage this power for a purpose beyond entertainment. Purposeful Video games, i.e. video games that have a purpose beyond entertainment, have immense potential to influence industries like education, marketing, and training; but we do not see them being mainstreamed in these industries. This is because making video games is costly, complicated, and clunky!

With Breshna, we are breaking the skills, cost and time barriers of making video games. Breshna empowers users to create their own purposeful video games with no-code, at low cost & at lightning speed.

Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.

I am building Breshna with a team of passionate game-changers. We are diverse, capital-efficient, and highly motivated individuals. Our core values are impatient optimism, community first, undiluted creativity, graceful growth, and humble confidence.

If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the gaming industry?

I absolutely believe we need more women in the gaming space. Women belong in all walks of life & it breaks my heart to see women self-selecting themselves out of the industry.

We have to address our imposter syndrome upfront; that constant self-doubt leading to questions like “Am I good enough?” or “Do I belong in this industry?” Thoughts like these are the reason we see women shying away from unleashing their full potential in their professional careers. For all of them, I have two words “You belong!”

What, according to you, could be the next big change in the gaming industry? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?

We are operating at two exploding tech trends; The serious games market is expected to be $29B by 2025, while the global low-code development platform market is expected to produce $187B in revenue by 2030. Furthermore, we are not only democratizing the video games industry but also the NFT space, where everyone can embed their NFTs into their own video games!

What would be your advice to budding women entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the gaming industry?

Shoot your shot!

Ideas are plenty; execution is what sets apart the doers from the thinkers!

If you have an idea to solve a pain point that you see in the world, the only scenario where you “fail” is the one where you do nothing about it. Do not let your gender, your educational background, your income status, or the color of your skin hold you back from becoming the best version of yourself!