Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has announced the launch of the first SportsTech accelerator in the MEA region powered by Startup Bootcamp, the global player in accelerating tech startups, with the goal to become the leading and central point in the region for sports innovation.
The initiative aims to attract the worlds’ most promising sports technology startups, to further boost the sports industry and contribute towards the accelerated growth shaping up in the Qatar's sports business.
The accelerator is now open to startups globally, and the first programme will commence in February 2019. Startups can start applying on www.qatarsportstech.com until December 2018.
QDB said it has always been a frontrunner in bringing the best local, regional, and international expertise to help promote innovators and entrepreneurs’ skills and support their projects.
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup is taking place in Qatar with forecasted investments of $5bn that represent a great opportunity for technology startups, QDB said the initiative will act as a catalyst and hub for sports innovation, pushing new boundaries and presenting new opportunities for global startups and entrepreneurs in terms of sports-related technology and engagement.
QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa said, “Qatar is gearing in full to lead regionally in the sports technology entrepreneurship and business scene, capitalising on the big investments happening in sports industry for the last 10 years and continuing.
“We are pleased that Startup Bootcamp is keen on grasping this opportunity together with us as we both believe that launching the first ‘SportsTech’ accelerator in the MEA region will create the perfect ecosystem to enhance entrepreneurship in the sports sector regionally.”
He added: “Combining the entrepreneurial mind and skillset together with our global distribution power will allow for greatness to happen. Our mandate is to increase the number of successful startups through creating thematic technology-based incubation/acceleration programmes.
“Startup Bootcamp will be powering the entire programme with a decade of experience in accelerating startups globally with great success. All in all, it’s a winning proposition for us, for start-ups, and for the Qatar economy.”
QDB said the accelerator will be in partnership with Aspire Zone Foundation, which is hosting the incubator/accelerator; the Ministry of Economy and Commerce; and the Qatar Financial Centre.
The accelerator will host total of four programmes over three years each with the 10 most promising SportsTech startups from all over the world. The best performers will be offered extended incubation period and potentially subsequent investment through QDB investment fund.
A total of 40 startups will be selected and accelerated, and the best performing startup will be offered to ‘Anchor to Qatar Sports Incubator’, while running in parallel several activities that complement the current events in the world of sports, such as Angel Investment Boot Camps, Hackathons, International Acceleration for selected Qatari startups, Mentorship programmes, and more.
The verticals of the SportsTech accelerator vary from performance analytics and usage of big data, events management and yield management for stadiums, sport tourism, fan experience and engagement, sensors (IoT) and wearables, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), sports equipment and performance enhancing clothing, VR, AR, and E-Sport.
The accelerator is also offering a unique opportunity for Qatari startups holding global potential to enter Startup Bootcamp accelerators all over the world, to help them scale their business and find mentors and partnerships.
The Qatar SportsTech Incubator will be a key supporter to grow the startup ecosystem in Qatar by creating a hub with events and mentors that will definitely provide an unmatched future for startups in Qatar.
With the support from local and international partners, Qatar SportsTech has the means to accelerate the business of the participating startups and position them in the forefront in all major sports activities happening in Qatar and beyond, through product presentations and business development, potential customers and possible funding to the participating companies.