In this Mentor Spotlight, we welcome Tjitte (TJ) Weistra, former professional athlete and SportsTech aficionado. Having risen to the top in badminton, founded his own business and mentored up-and-coming startups as Business Manager for both Strategy Hubb and Startupbootcamp, we are thrilled to have Tjitte supporting the SportsTech stars of Qatar SporstTech.
What is your background?
I’m a former professional athlete (Badminton), coach and senior (sport) manager. I was born and bred in The Netherlands and after a coaching adventure in Peru (2001-2004) I ended up in New Zealand (2004-20118) where I had several coaching positions including being the National Coach & High-Performance Manager. I moved to Mornington (just south of Melbourne) at the start of 2019 and started as Business Manager for Strategy Hubb in April.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Athlete wise I made it into the Top 25 in the world and won a total of 17 international titles. Coach wise I managed to lead Peru to their first-ever medal at the Pan-American Championships and guided New Zealand to the Commonwealth Games in 2006 (one silver medal) and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I also coached one of NZ’s Premier League teams to their first-ever premiership win in 73 years. As a senior manager, I’m proud of having converted a small regional Badminton center in NZ into one of the most successful centers in New Zealand achieving 150% growth over five years. My most recent role as Business Manager for Strategy Hubb has been a most satisfying journey so far working with several startups from various industries and from all over the world.
What made you interested in joining Qatar SportsTech as a mentor?
I read about the program and contacted Koen Bosma a few months ago and we had a chat. After coming on board as a mentor for the Startupbootcamp FinTech program at YBF Ventures in Melbourne a few months ago I quickly realised that I really enjoyed working with startups and having a huge coaching and mentoring background I thought that getting involved with QST would be a great fit given my sporting background and my current role.
What excites you the most about Sports Technology?
Sport has always been my passion and in my days as an athlete, there wasn’t much tech around so to see all the developments in the Sports Tech arena blows me away and having the opportunity to perhaps contribute a little bit to the success of startups is exciting.
What expertise are you going to support the QST startups with?
I believe that I’m able to approach and assist startups from many different angles given my background as an athlete, coach, high-performance manager and now business manager. This will allow me to provide input from different perspectives. My connections within the sporting industry may also be beneficial for the startups that I have the opportunity of working with.
Any final words of wisdom, that you would like to share with aspiring SportsTech entrepreneurs?
Just like in high-performance sport, to get out on top you need to outperform your competition. To do this you need to create great awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses as well as your competition and work harder than your competition. What is going to be your point of difference when you take on the competition?
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/