Mentor Spotlight with David Geddes

Today’s mentor spotlight shines on David Geddes, President & CEO of International Sports Technology Association. With a career leading him from hospitality, through politics and into the startup world David has a multifaceted understanding of the needs of SportsTech startups. This week David will shed light on which direction he sees SportsTech going in and the importance of entrepreneurs to understand both the tech and the sports industry.

The International Sports Technology Association (ISTA) is a membership association advocating career growth, business optimization and athletic performance within Sports Technology. The goal of the organisation is to promote the adoption of emerging technology within sports.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your background?

I spent a few years managing people as a hotelier while studying information systems at university. I gained a strong understanding of booking engines, property operations, and yield systems to optimize revenues.

My reputation with people and systems led me to the local chamber of commerce where I advocated for increasing lodging tax. Lodging tax is a major economic development resource fueled by big sporting events. For a period of time, I worked with small teams to build economic development programs around ecological and cultural resources across the Americas too.

Most of my family members have their own small businesses so being an entrepreneur was in my blood. I eventually decided to launch several startups. One of those startups sold custom software applications to professional motorsports teams which helped me build a global reputation for advanced technologies.

I learned a lot about sport and technology that is why my partners and I started the world’s first sports technology association. Today, I still dabble with my own small websites, technology consulting, and running the association.

What made you interested in joining Qatar SportsTech as a mentor?

I‘m currently the President & CEO of the International Sports Technology Association. I have experience in market discovery, accelerator courses, pitching, due diligence periods, and term sheets.  

I’m in contact with many investment groups about accelerator and incubator programs to help innovations find a home in sport.

I decided it would be good to volunteer my time to assist others but also to keep my pulse on global trends in sports technology. I enjoy helping new business flourish.

What excites you the most about Sports Technology?

Undergraduate degree programs are now shifting to align with professional standards to unify the sector in a sports technology field. By having a recognized field within sports technology means that sporting organizations will have qualified and trained sports technologists who can successfully startup and operate technology programs. This will help streamline technology adoption by giving organizations the confidence they can utilize or create technology.   

How can you support the teams that you will be mentoring?

I can help teams find a compromise between the clouds and solid ground. I can help them massage strategies to fix problems that will add to market traction. Wrapping your head around actual capabilities and what buyers need, might be different than what you believed at the start of your journey. I can also get my network to look at ideas for real market feedback.

What would you recommend for an entrepreneur starting a business within SportsTech?

Add people to your team that understands both technology and the sports industry. Having one without the other makes understanding your buyer extremely difficult. Spend more time discovering customer needs before you go to market.

For information and news about Qatar SportsTech follow us on Twitter: @sbcSportsTech

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