Former Notre Dame Football player Gerome Sapp is no stranger to the tech world. Back in 2013 he launched Fluencr, which provided advice and consultation to consumers who were looking for an active voice to interact with the brands and products that they already love. Fluencr was “designed to help people harness the power of social media. Social media allows the average person to have a huge voice that can be heard around the world. It gives people the opportunity to be ambassadors of their own brands. Even if you only know one person, and you tell them about your favorite brand or company, you can be an ‘influencer.’ For example, I am valuable if I tell one person to go to Legends (a bar on Notre Dame’s campus), but by proclaiming it on social media I can amplify my influence. What I am doing with Fluencr is taking it to the next step … helping people get rewarded for their influence specific to their favorite brand. This is good for the brand as well, because it allows the brand to cash into the consumer’s social credibility with their friends. In a sense people end up getting endorsement deals just for simply supporting the brands they love.”
Then, in 2014 he launched the Ginx app. “My team and I launched a photo-sharing app called *#GINX. The app combines our love for taking/sharing photos and using hashtags, with the fundamentals of a ‘flash-mob’ which brings large groups of people together around one initiative for a moment in time. The app allows anyone the ability to create or join a photo-based VIRTUAL ‘flash-mob’ (during a set time), around any funny thought, event or important initiative you would normally hashtag to bring attention to. Users participate in your *#GINX by uploading images that best visually represent the initiative (ex: *#MyCrazyVegasNight) and/or they can just vote on images to crown an individual ‘Star’ of the *#GINX!
Sapp is back at it again with his latest Fintech start up Rares App (https://rares.io): A platform for investing in shares of particularly notable sneakers — think game-worn shoes, the hardest to find or those that were never mass produced.
Gerome posted this on his Instagram account last week, “The Stock Market, Finance and Trading have always been passions/hobbies of mine. Just like my love for sneakers. So during the quarantine, when I had nothing but time on my hands, I figured why not combine my two passions (The Stock Market & Sneakers) and turn it into a unique business that provided millions of people access to rare, high priced sneakers via ‘fractional ownership.’ So I created the worlds first TRUE stock market for collectible sneakers called RARES! We buy the sneaker, you buy the shares in that sneaker via an IPO on the RARES platform. If the value of the sneaker rises, so does the value of the shares you own in that sneaker. Just like a traditional stock. Also, RARES is regulated by the SEC! So you can potentially make money off of the appreciation of a sneaker without ever having to physically own the sneaker. No more lines... No more lottery’s... No more paying high consignment prices... Just buy shares in the sneaker on the ( https://rares.io) platform. Launching this week!”
RARES has also been selected to this year’s Techstars Music 2021 Class. “Techstars Music is announcing 11 new companies that have joined its ranks, along with a partnership with Atlanta media company/record label Quality Control. While it’s easy to mentally bunch everything Techstars does together under the singular ‘Techstars’ name, it’s actually made up of 40+ interconnected accelerator programs each with its own focus and portfolio. The majority of these are focused on a specific region — programs like Techstars Boulder, Boston or LA. Others focus on a specific vertical or industry — like sports, space, or, in this case, music.”
“So what all does that ‘music’ focus cover? It’s not just music creation tools, or apps for artists. As Techstars Music Managing Director Bob Moczydlowsky put it in a Q&A last year, ‘we don’t invest in music companies — we invest in companies solving problems for music.’”
Rares was one of eleven companies to join the Techstars family in 2021.
“Techstars Music alumni companies have raised over $105 million since the first class in 2017 and that the group above has already raised over $3 million ahead of its demo day in May.”
You can follow Gerome’s latest adventure on Instagram at @geromesapp.
Cheers & GO IRISH!