Digital Sport London – What tech startups in sport need to know

On Tuesday evening at the offices of Pinsent Masons in central London, Digital Sport hosted an event on the challenges and opportunities for technology, business and startups in the world of sport in 2019.

If that sounds to you like a major topic of discussion that could’ve gone on all night then you’d be right! But it’s also one an area where there are unique challenges to overcome.

Teaming up with the Sports Technology Awards for a panel discussion with Snack Media, Sport Whispers and Refsix, we had an enlightening discussion about technology, data, and setting up a new business in sport in 2019.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the evening:

The UK is too risk averse when it comes investment in sports startups

Compared with the US, the UK’s sports investment landscape can often look anaemic to those of us living on the smaller side of the Atlantic. The grass is always greener, I suppose, but when it comes to venture capital and investing in startups in the sports space, you can see the difference: in the US, investors are afraid of missing out, said Hassan Rajwani of Refsix, whereas in the UK, investors are afraid of looking foolish.

Tech becoming cheaper can only benefit grassroots sport

Tech is not just a chance to make money, it can also make a difference.

And when you invest in grassroots sport, you end up with a much bigger audience to sell to!

If you’re going to build something, build it to last

In a VC meeting, one of the first things you’ll be asked is, “what’s your exit strategy?” – we have a cultural attraction to building a startup just to sell it off quickly.

The biggest tech successes didn’t want to be big

They wanted to solve a problem.

Starting with the wrong ‘why’ kills startups before they’re born!

Creating a team with the right balance is key

If you start up a business to be able to do what you love, you soon find out that you have to run a business – and you won’t love all of that. So a team who have the expertise in different areas is essential!

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 775 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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