In this week’s mentor spotlight we sit down with VC investor Sébastien Gros, to hear about his journey in supporting sports tech startups. As the Vice President of Investments & Strategy at the sports investment fund Aser, Sebastien is always keeping a keen eye on the newest tech that will push the sports sector forward. As a mentor with Qatar SportsTech, Sebastien will use the experience gained during his time in Aser to challenge and improve the startups’ business models and strategies.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your background?
I am a VC investor with a passion for the sports industry, constantly looking to engage with talented entrepreneurs. I am currently Vice President of Investments & Strategy at Aser, the first European-based fund dedicated to sports investments founded by Andrea Radrizzani in London. I am responsible for the origination and execution of all potential investments, as well as working closely with portfolio companies to identify growth opportunities. Aser’s portfolio includes English Championship historic club Leeds United Football Club, global broadcaster Eleven Sports, sports influencer networks Whistle Sports and Hellodi, live-events production company Easyprod, San-Francisco based data & analytics start-up Sport Data Labs, amongst others.
I have also recently joined the Techstars Sports Accelerator program based in Indianapolis, in quality of Mentor.
Previously, I spent 3 years working for Accenture where I was part of the Corporate Strategy practice, with a special focus on TMT clients. I worked on a variety of clients and international projects across Germany, South Africa, Spain, the US, and France.
Originally from Paris, I completed my Master’s Degree from Grenoble Graduate School of Business between France and Australia.
What made you interested in joining Qatar SportsTech as a mentor?
The sport ecosystem is going through significant changes at the moment and the impact of technologies creates a lot of potential for disruptive ideas. It is only recently that investors are taking real interest in this segment and deciding to move into the space. Although the US market has already some degree of maturity, the rest of the world is still figuring out what is the best structure to support start-ups and entrepreneurs. Sports-dedicated programs are now running around the world and it is crucial for the community to get together and promote sports tech entrepreneurs and start-ups worldwide. With the World Cup approaching, there is no doubt that Qatar will play a big role in the years to come in sports. As such, I’m very excited to join Qatar Sports Tech and support talented entrepreneurs.
What excites you the most about Sports Technology?
We are at the very beginning of a new era for sports, leading to an incredible amount of exciting opportunities across the board. Technology is changing the way fans engage with their favourite club, viewers watch content, athletes measure their performance, etc. It is key to support the community in search for the right business model and monetisation strategy. Even more so for sports than it is for other sectors, there is a lot of room to leverage commercial synergies, providing an attractive way for investors to get on board and reduce their risk.
How can you support the teams that you will be mentoring?
Aser was the first European-based funds to get involved in the sports segment by building a significant portfolio in just over 3 years, spanning sports, media and tech assets. Working across all these deals and supporting our companies with commercial and business development activities has been a great way to get exposed to a variety of approaches, business models, and go-to-market strategies. I’m hoping that the experience that I have accumulated over the years will prove useful to entrepreneurs part of the program.
What would you recommend for startups working within SportsTech? Any final words of wisdom you would like to give?
Make the most of this great experience, keep an open mind, try and engage with everyone you can (inside and outside of the program) challenge yourself and people around you. Fun times are ahead in sports and it’s definitely the right moment to be an entrepreneur!
About Qatar SportsTech
Qatar SportsTech in partnership with QDB is an accelerator program powered by Startupbootcamp dedicated to helping 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, 4 Scale programs for growth-stage teams, and 2 SBC Colab designed for corporate innovation to tackle real business problems. We partner with leading global brands to support the next generation of innovators. Since founding in 2010, we have worked with nearly 700 founders, 250+ global brands and facilitated hundreds of partnerships between our alumni and corporate partners.
For more information about Startupbootcamp www.startupbootcamp.org
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