Lebanese entrepreneur Rayan Ismail insists his new sports app has what it takes to make waves in the UAE and wider Middle East.

Ismail is the co-founder of dibs, an app designed to help amateur players to search for, and book, venues for matches.

After securing funding from the UK Lebanon Tech Hub (UKLTH) – a joint initiative between the UK government and the Banque de Liban – dibs is preparing to launch and Ismail is confident that his product flourish in the region.

“Our technology will not only be cutting edge to the players but also it will be integral and a game changer to the sports venues in this part of the world,” Ismail told The National.

The marketplace is certainly one of great potential if US figures are anything to go by. The youth sports market in the United States is worth $9 billion, with software for youth and amateur teams worth $1.2 billion according to a 2017 report by Wintergreen Research. That figure is predicted to rise to $6.9 billion by 23.

The Middle East may be a different market but there is unquestionably a huge appetite for grassroots sport in the region.

“People constantly come forward to us and share with us the problems that they face to be sports fans in this part of the world,” Ismail said.

“Whether it is access to stadiums, or booking a game, or buying fans’ gadgets, or following their teams’ results and news, they are all problems we are constantly working to solve and to improve the solution we already have.”

There are already competitors in the UAE but Ismail believes dibs can challenge those existing providers.

“Our vision is to develop and uplift the sports industry in the Middle East while solving the problems facing the community,” he added.

“We are currently starting with Lebanon and we will be soon expanding to other countries like Jordan, UAE and Cairo.  We are aiming to be operational in 10 countries by 2020.

“We are now focused on our market penetration strategy that will eventually set the pace of our plans for the upcoming years. The desire to meet our vision and our great passion for sports is what makes us get out of bed every morning.”