Qatar has announced the launch of Qatar SportsTech, the first acceleration program of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa that aims to attract the most promising SportsTech startups from the world and help them grow their product and business.
The Doha-based accelerator has been launched by Qatar Development Bank with Aspire Zone Foundation, Ministry of Economy and Commerce, and Qatar Financial Centre as partners. The program will be run and managed by Startupbootcamp, a global network of industry-focused startup accelerators that is managing one program in the region, the Startupbootcamp Smart City Dubai.
Commencing in Doha in February 2019, Qatar SportsTech is accepting applications now from all around the world. The accelerator is looking for early-stage startups from the sportstech industry that have a prototype at least. The startups eligible to apply may or may not have received their first funding round and they could be from one of the following fields:
- Disruptive Technologies
- Team Performance and Analytics
- Venue Optimization and Management
- Fan Engagement & Experience
- Sports Culture
- Sports Tourism
- Sports Hardware, Tools & Equipment
- Sports Medical
Qatar SportsTech will invite the 20 shortlisted startups to Doha, but, according to the FAQs on their website, they won’t cover the flights or accommodation – teams will have to take care of it by themselves. The accelerator will then select 10 startups from the 20 on Selection Day – who will join the the three-month program and receive 15,000 EUR (a little more than $17,000) as grant – the money that should easily cover their flights and accommodation.
The accelerator program will take 6% equity in the startup and offer them direct access to partners like Aspire Zone, Qatar Development Bank and the World Cup Committee 2022 and many more. The selected startups will also receive mentorship and advice from Startupbootcamp’s global network of entrepreneurs, experts & investors, and free office space with prototype testlabs for the entire three months.
The key partners of the program provide expertise, exposure, APIs and complete access to their network of industry professionals from around the world – and with Qatar hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, these partners are the biggest highlight of the program.
Over the next three years, the SportsTech accelerator will host a total of four 3-month accelerators. For each program, the 10 most promising SportsTech startups from around the world will be selected.