Racemates, Interview with Michael Sälzer CEO and Co-founder

In recent months, we have covered Sorare, a leading sports start-up, which has combined a fantasy game, trading cards, and NFTs. The sport’s popularity in the world favours this type of business, so other companies are springing up that focus on the same elements. One of these is Racemates, founded in recent months in Bielefeld by Michael Sälzer, CEO and Co-Founder and Duc Huy.

What is Racemates, and how did the project come about?

With Racemates, we build a global motorsport manager with digital trading cards of racers as NFT. The unique feature is that our NFTs reference the driver’s real performances.

I worked as a motorsport consultant for twelve years and have seen many young talented racers not get a chance to make a career because they lacked the monetary resources, or the media reach for sponsors. We change that with the Racemates concept.

So the first objective is to support young pilots who might otherwise have to give up their dreams?

Yes, that is correct. We want to give drivers a new marketing tool. And Through our Racemates concept, motorsport fans, for the first time, have the opportunity to participate in the good performances of their favorite driver. And this is how the fans and we can support the drivers.

When will Racemates be launched?

We will launch our store on September 3, 2022. Then we will sell trading cards from 30 selected drivers. Each physical card is linked to an NFT. This is unique!

Michael Salzer; Duc Huy, co-founder Racemates

How and by whom is the team behind Racemates composed?

We are three founders. Andrej (CTO), our tech boss, will take care of the IT infrastructure of the Racemates platform. Duc Huy is Co-Founder / COO / CMO and has an M.Sc. in Industrial Engineering and Management. Huy has a lot of experience in project management of strategic industrial digitalization of technical processes in the group.

I have worked as a consultant for young racing drivers, built up my own e-commerce business, and in 2020 I was in Silicon Valley at Stanford University attending lectures on artificial intelligence. I am the Co-Founder & CEO of Racemates.

With how many drivers and which motorsport disciplines have you reached an agreement, or are you aiming for arrangements in the future?

Currently, we have the marketing rights of 30 selected drivers from karting, Formula 4 (France and Germany), and a large part comes from GT4 Germany and the GT Masters. On Instagram and LinkedIn, we will publish which drivers are in the Racemates family.

Formula 4 Card

Tell us how the Fantasy Game will work, how much users will have to pay, and what will they get?

On March 2023, our Fantasy League will be launched in Germany. Fans will be able to put together a team of different drivers—for example, a kart driver, a Formula 4 driver, and a GT driver. If the drivers end up with a good race result on the weekend, i.e., a good starting position, many overtaking maneuvers, and a podium finish, they will receive points for this.

The points will be accumulated by all categories and saved in a manager ranking afterward. The best managers get trading cards or our Racemates Coin as a reward. The trading cards can be sold on our secondary market.

Besides being able to amplify their popularity, what are the benefits for drivers guaranteed by Racemates?

The drivers have a new marketing tool, a new product for fans. In each NFT, the marketing licenses are transferred automatically to the drivers. The drivers participate in every different trade on the secondary market. This is the reason why we use NFT Blockchain technology.

Max Reis; Michael Salzer

What more and different can they give the Racemates NFT and blockchain project?

We have created a way to connect physical trading cards with the NFT as digital trading cards, which are unique and unavailable on the market. We want to create a Racing DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) in the long term. This will give the racing community more opportunities in all important decisions in the future.

Which cryptocurrency will you rely on?

Our NFT trading cards are minted on the Polygon Blockchain. The Racemates coins have been created by ourselves.

Have you received funding or other support for the development of the project?

We bootstrapped most of it. Since July, we have had a grant from the Berlin Startup School, financed for the following months. Currently, we are closing our seed round with investors.

Which countries and markets do Racemates want to enter immediately or in short to medium term?

The first step is to enter the german market, and afterward, we already planned to roll out in the US market, which is currently one of the biggest markets.

What is Racemates’ ambition in the medium-long term in terms of users and volume of business?

RWe will do more deals with racing series. In the next 18 months, we want to launch in the US with our trading cards.

Do you have doubts about the project: do you believe it will be able to overcome public resistance towards certain new technologies, or have you foreseen the possibility that it might turn out to be a failure?

We have talked a lot with the motorsport community. The community and Racemates also noticed that the topic of NFT has not yet arrived in motorsport. But to pick up the community as a whole, we have thought of the following point: the solution is connecting the physical trading card to the NFT. So we have the possibility to inspire the mainstream for Web3 and NFTs.

We call it: nft4pocket!

Alessio Caprodossi is a technology, sports, and lifestyle journalist. He navigates between three areas of expertise, telling stories, experiences, and innovations to understand how the world is shifting. You can follow him on Twitter (@alecap23) and Instagram (Alessio Caprodossi) to report projects and initiatives on startups, sustainability, digital nomads, and web3.