Mentor Spotlight with Max Rollinger

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This week the spotlight shines on Max Rollinger, Director of Programming at Wentworth Institute of Technology and Mentor at Sports Tech Tokyo. Throughout his career, Max Rollinger has experienced first-hand the growth of the SportsTech vertical and the impact technology is having on the sports industry. Max Rollinger is now joining Qatar SportsTech as a mentor and will be supporting the QST cohort with the full weight of his expertise. l

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background?

I have worked at the intersections of sports, entrepreneurship and emerging technology throughout my career so it has been an eye-opening experience to see how rapidly the sports tech landscape has grown around the world since I graduated university in 2009. I founded Sports Mobile Summit, one of the first conferences in the U.S. to focus on mobile technology in the sports industry, with events in Boston, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Now that I’m based in Boston, one of the world’s great academic hubs, I have had the opportunity to mentor students who are the next generation of tech entrepreneurs at Wentworth Institute of Technology and a number of other leading institutions in higher education.

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

Qatar (and the Middle East in general) is poised to emerge as an epicenter for innovation in the sports industry in areas ranging from stadium design to fan engagement technologies, so I’m thrilled to play a small role in helping to serve as a connection point between the U.S. sports community and the companies who are part of the Qatar SportsTech cohort.

What excites you the most about Sports Technology?

eSports is completely redefining the in-venue fan engagement experience from intimate theaters to some of the world’s most prestigious arenas like Madison Square Garden. Venue owners and operators whom would normally have fans in their buildings for two or three hours during a regular sporting event are now attracting eSports fans for tournaments that last an entire weekend. That impacts technologies ranging from concession software to wireless networks so I’m excited to see how sports tech companies adapt to serve the eSports market as it continues to grow.

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

My specialities are partnership and business development strategy. I like to find opportunities to connect sports tech entrepreneurs with industry leaders who have complementary skill sets and can benefit from their expertise. I’m also looking forward to advising the Qatar SportsTech cohort on opportunities to bring their technologies to the North American marketplace.

Any final words of wisdom you would like to give?

Never stop networking. Obviously developing a business model and creating a great product/service are some of the most important elements of entrepreneurship but none of that will matter if you don’t make the time to connect with industry professionals who can help put your ideas in front of the right people. Whether that’s reaching out to executives for feedback on LinkedIn or attending industry conferences, you have to be willing to hustle!

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