Owing to its world-class ICT infrastructure and entrepreneurial-centric organisations, Qatar has been attracting a wave of international startups, according to an Italian tech entrepreneur.
And with the 2022 FIFA World Cup ahead, the country is seen as a “perfect” destination for sport startups, according to Felice Biancardi, president and head of Sales of Italian tech company, Golee.
Asked to evaluate the country’s startup ecosystem in terms of digitisation and innovation, Biancardi said Golee believes that “Qatar is the perfect venue for sport startups.”
“We came here because we were curious of finding out why Qatar is investing in sports so much. Qatar wants to bring values to society through sport, making it affordable to everybody and making it one of the pillars of its development plan.
These are evident Qatar’s preparations to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the development of the Aspire Zone, one of the most advanced sport districts worldwide. This concept is similarly applied to all the other sectors linked with the Qatar National Vision 2030, based on bring innovation to society and the economy,” Biancardi told Gulf Times.
Golee is an online platform for the digitisation of sports, and is among the 10 startups being accelerated under the Qatar SportsTech (QST), an initiative of the Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
The company’s aim is to provide digital tools and services to the entire amateur sports world, focusing on amateur football clubs and coaches. The next step is to penetrate the professional clubs market, Biancardi said.
As a one-stop-platform, Biancardi said, Golee specialises in management software for the digitalisation of daily operations and monitoring of sports activities, as well as website and e-commerce to increase a club’s revenues and improve their online image.
Earlier, Biancardi had said Golee was looking at making Qatar a hub for its international expansion plans, with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
He noted that Qatar is a strategic location for Golee’s international expansion and that the government is focused on the development of its sport ecosystem. “Our aim is to move part of our operations in Doha and serve as a strategic partner for federations, clubs, and sport sponsors,” he said.
Speaking about Qatar’s ICT infrastructure, Biancardi said high mobile and Internet adoption makes Qatar “a perfect place for startups to test their products and prepare it for a bigger market.”
“From our experience, Qatar seems to be a perfect laboratory to develop technologies. It’s a fact that areas with high mobile/Internet penetration make tech startups flourish easily. We would suggest many companies to move their research and development operations here,” Biancardi said.
QST programme director Heba Q al-Masri said Qatar has been investing heavily in its sports industry and has positioned itself as a global sports hub. This would help Golee in tapping a wide network of clubs and federations that they can help with digitalising and streamlining their operations.