Let me introduce Neel Shah from Mumbai, India, who is our newest mentor at Qatar SportsTech. Working as the Head of New Sports Education & New Business at India On Track, Neel Shah is an expert in Business Development & Sales and Marketing & Advertising.
Neel is a sports marketing professional with over eighteen years of experience in the development and commercialization of football in North America, Europe, and Asia. He is skilled in creating impactful and sustainable programming and partnerships and securing funding to ensure the concept becomes reality. Most recently, Neel established the Mumbai based Global Institute of Sports Business which is India’s first industry designed sports management program.
What is your background?
Sports have played a major role in my life since the age of 4 and, at the age of 16, I was clear that I would pursue a career in sports management. I studied Business Economics at UC Santa Barbara in California and completed my MBA in Sports Management at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.
In 2002, I was able to secure my ‘dream job’ in the Fan Development department at the Major League Soccer (MLS) League Office in New York City. I worked with MLS until 2009 and served as a Director for a few of my 7 years at the League Office. In 2009, I chose to take the road less traveled and move to India to support the growth of professional sports in this country – a mission I was able to pursue via roles with Dentsu, Libero Sports, DSK Shivajians and now India On Track.
Over the past 10 years of living in India, I’ve had the unique opportunity to work on all areas of the sporting ecosystem and help some of the biggest sports organizations in the world set up their presence in this country.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement was establishing my current project – the Global Institute of Sports Business (GISB). GISB is India’s first industry designed and delivered sports management institute and, in a short time, this learning center has already created waves within the Indian sports education landscape.
This project is a consolidation of my time working in sports as it brings together nearly two decades of industry experience, an expansive global network and an understanding of the personal development required to succeed in this industry. I truly believe that in a few years’ time GISB will be ranked as the top sports management institute in Asia and will be the source of many sports industry leaders.
What made you interested in joining Qatar SportsTech as a mentor?
GISB was fortunate to have the opportunity to host one of QST’s Fasttrack events at our Mumbai campus. During that event, I was able to spend some quality time with QST’s Program Director Heba Almasri and learn more about the great work that QST is doing to support global startups. Also, being a hardcore football fan, I was excited about QST’s focus on working with startups to create an enhanced consumer experience around the 2022 FIFA World Cup. I was honored to get the invite to be a part of QST’s global mentor network and am looking forward to leveraging my industry experience to help sports tech startups reach their full potential.
What excites you the most about Sports Technology?
Given the fact that my background is in Fan Development & Engagement, I believe that sports technology is and will continue to be the primary tool to enhance the overall consumer experience around sports. For me, it’s thrilling to be at the forefront of this movement and be able to play a minor role in helping companies create sports technology products and services that can impact the lives of billions of people.
What expertise are you going to support the QST startups with?
I will leverage my knowledge of Fan Engagement, Partnerships Development, and Marketing to support QST startups. Plus, I have an extensive network that I’d be happy to tap into in order to support the startups I work with.
Any final words of wisdom, that you would like to give to aspiring SportsTech entrepreneurs?
It helps to work towards something bigger than money & fame. Also, have patience.
ABOUT QATAR SPORTSTECH
Qatar SportsTech is a leading accelerator program, focused on growing the SportsTech sector in Doha. As part of the Rainmaking Group, a global venture builder and creator of Startupbootcamp, the program helps SportsTech startups scale globally through direct access to an international network of mentors partners and investors.
Startupbootcamp is a global network of innovation programs with 15 industry-specific accelerators and four Scale programs for growth-stage teams Startupbootcamp partners with leading global brands to support the next generation of innovators. Since founding in 2010, Startupbootcamp has worked with over 700 founders, 250+ global brands and facilitated hundreds of partnerships between their alumni and corporate partners.
For more information about Startupbootcamp, please visit https://www.startupbootcamp.org/