This week we have a true globetrotter and extreme sports enthusiast joining us in the spotlight. David Braun has tried almost every extreme sport out there and has turned ideas into reality both as a founder and as a funder. He’s an old friend of Startupbootcamp and has previously supported our Digital Health program in Berlin as an Entrepreneur in Residence. This time, he has joined Qatar SportsTech to combine his two major passions; sports and technology.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is David Braun, I’m a serial entrepreneur, primarily in the sports tech vertical. After my third company, I switched sides and started getting more involved on the enabler side. I joined SBC Digital Health as Entrepreneur in Residence in 2016 and from there, got more and more involved in various other accelerators and incubators, such as Google Launchpad, Lead Sports Accelerator, 360 Lab and a bunch more. I then joined a Venture Capital fund, the Lemann Family’s sports tech focussed fund Go4.it, as Dealflow Manager for the European and Israeli Geographic regions. I have a Background in UI/UX Design, Product management
Prior to kicking off my entrepreneurial journey in Europe, I was living in Africa for 10 years. My passion for adventure and sports has led to me having travelled all my life, visiting around 82 countries to date. Sports has always been an integral part of my life and I’ve tried almost every extreme sport that exists. I conquered Africa’s second highest mountain at age 8, have been hang gliding since age 16 (and won 1st place at the regional cup 3 years later), jumped out of a plane solo and got my AFF license a week later, and most recently started with kite surfing. I tend to add a new sport every couple of years to keep things interesting.
What excites you about joining Qatar SportsTech as a mentor?
Last year I was on a speaking tour around Asia and the Middle East, which got me really fascinated and interested in these regions. That, paired with the incredible opportunity that sports tech represents – especially in Qatar, what with the world cup coming up and all, I think makes a very compelling package, which I’m super stoked to be a part of.
What excites you the most about the SportsTech vertical?
I have a slight personal bias, because sports has always been an integral part of my life, and so has tech. So, marrying the two was something of an inevitability. My whole entrepreneurial journey started off in the sportstech vertical and when I first joined Startupbootcamp with their digital health track back in 2016, sportstech was still underrepresented and was pretty much treated as a subset of the digital health vertical. In the past couple of years that has changed dramatically, making way for sportstech to grow up and become an entire vertical of its own. These are still the early days of sportstech and it’s super exciting and an honour to be able to contribute in shaping the future of sports tech.
How can you support the teams that you will be mentoring?
Mentoring is both about sharing knowledge and experience so that others don’t have to make the same mistake I did, as well as asking the right questions, so as to unlock the answers that are already residing within.
As to the first part, my area of expertise is in full-spectrum venture building and strategy, going from idea to funded company, having done that a couple of times myself, both as founder and funder. But also in any UI/UX and product management topics, as well as community building.
So again, it’s about sharing knowledge and experience, but also asking the right questions because I believe that everyone has the answers to everything within, and that the problem always contains the solution.
Any final words of wisdom?
As with every emerging vertical, there is abundant opportunity. The sportstech community is still relatively small, yet tight-knit, highly engaged and supportive. So my advice would be to make it a point to get as connected as possible within this vertical and you will be surprised at the abundance of opportunity you will stumble into. There is emerging sportstech media that would be happy to cover any exciting new project in the space, there are plenty of sportstech focused conferences and events popping up, always looking for speakers and interesting topics to present, just to mention a few.
So go out there and crush it! As Woody Allen once said, 80% of success is showing up.
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