Former NFL player Gerome Sapp creates app where sneakerheads can invest in their obsession 

Rares, founded by Sapp in 2020, provides a platform for investors to buy and trade fractional shares of high-end sneakers.

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Gerome Sapp is a sneakerhead, and the former NFL player has created an opportunity for others like him to make money off their passion. 

Rares, a company Sapp founded in June 2020, lets the average person invest in fractional shares of high-end sneakers, according to Finurah. For example, the company acquired Kanye West’s Nike Air Yeezy 1 “Prototype,” from an auction at Sotheby’s in 2021. The shoes — which Ye wore to the 2008 Grammy Awards — sold to Rares for $1.8 million, making it the most expensive sneakers ever sold at auction. 

“We split that sneaker into 72,000 shares, and we offer that for $25 a share,” said Sapp of the Rares app. “So, for $25, you have a chance to own a piece of history.”

Rares, co-founded and helmed by former NFLer Gerome Sapp, featured the Yeezy shoe at a curated ComplexCon booth in November, along with other never-before-seen sneakers from its collection. (Photo: Rares)

Rares looks “for some of the most scarce sneakers in the world,” he said. “Some of our sneakers, they don’t even make anymore. Those are the types of sneakers that have a higher chance, percentage-wise, of appreciating. Those are the ones we want to go after because that allows us to give our investors the optimal chance to make money off that investment.”

The company’s website boasts that “Rares is a first of its kind social investing platform that allows users to invest in sneakers by buying and trading shares in them. Rares is about giving access to everyone so that the very people who made sneaker culture cool and valuable can also participate financially in this value.” 

On the site, users can buy and trade shares — and engage in an online community with like-minded peers. 

Sapp, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, played for five seasons before retiring in 2007. He says Rares makes investing more accessible for people with less money. “You don’t have to be an accredited investor to use our platform,” Sapp told Insider. “You don’t have to be a millionaire.”

The average income of Rares users is closer to $82,000. “That’s a great thing,” he said, “because it means a different socioeconomic class is utilizing our platform.” 

Sapp also wants Rares to be an avenue to encourage investment among young Black people. 

“The cultures and communities that made the sneaker industry what it is today — that made it popular and valuable — at some point were left out of the secondary appreciation of these sneakers,” he maintained. “We’ve created a simple, easy-to-use marketplace that you can go on from a mobile app or the website and literally take advantage of the secondary appreciation of these sneakers.” 

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