We first met Greek siblings Alexander and Katerina Tanti, Co-Founders of SportsTech startup Racecheck, back in 2017 when they participated in our Young Entrepreneurs Programme (RG YEP). After participating in the RG YEP Ignite workshop at the London Business School, they were shortlisted onto the Accelerate and Pitch phases of the programme. At last year’s RG YEP Final Pitch event, due to the strength of their team in going to market, Racecheck won the RG YEP Rising Star Award. This award guaranteed their place on RG Challenge, Reload Greece’s intensive 11-day accelerator programme, which supports startups to become investment ready. Since participating in RG YEP17-18 and RG Challenge18, Racecheck have grown to become a team of 8 spread between London and Thessaloniki and in September 2018, they raised a pre-seed round of 250,000 Euros.
Racecheck is an online platform that helps recreational athletes find and evaluate endurance sports events around the world. Racecheck started as an idea after it’s Co-Founder Alexander participated in a really badly organised triathlon and wanted to leave his feedback about the event on to a trip-advisor style platform for sports. After realising that such a platform did not exist, Racecheck was born. Today the platform is used by tens of thousands of athletes not only to find races but to share and benefit from past participant reviews. Racecheck have also launched their website and they plan to launch a new updated version of their iOS and Android app, as well as diversifying their offers in respect to event participation, thus enabling users to share race calendars, reviews and finish times. The startup’s goal is to gradually develop a specialised channel of distribution and interaction between organisers of competitions, insurance companies, sports companies, B2B suppliers and athletes.
RG mentorship, tools and support
Racecheck is very positive about the impact their participation in RG YEP, RG Challenge and the RG Connect conference has had on their development. As Alexander states “‘The support and knowledge we gained through RG YEP and RG Challenge has given us a lot of confidence and participating in RG Connect helped us connect with influential people. RG YEP helped us shape the concept into a real business model and brought clarity, focus and prioritisation within the team. Joining RG YEP was a very significant moment for our entrepreneurial journey, we received the right mentorship, tools and support we needed to work with our mentors, clarifying and defining our business model and really identifying the next steps that we need to take to make our vision a reality.”
Alex states that the mentors he met on RG programmes helped to support Racecheck’s strategic direction and development “Our mentor, Aggelos Baxevanis (pictured above centre), was instrumental in guiding us towards shaping what was initially a rough concept into a concrete business model, and achieved paid traction of that model during the YEP period. Our mentors have been so significant to our journey that they are still with us. They are actually part of the Board of Directors, and still very much influence our way of thinking.”
Connecting with investors
During RG Challenge18, the programme mentors supported Racecheck to develop a pitch deck and become investment ready and the startup gained 1:1 meetings with investors specifically interested in their business. Alex highlighted “Our RG YEP journey and consequent win certainly helped bring a lot of interest and validation into Racecheck. RG Challenge helped us to further refine our business model and understand what was needed to further accelerate our strategy.” The funding Racecheck received has gone towards growing the team, improving technology and marketing efforts.
A positive impact on Greece
Racecheck are building their tech team in Thessaloniki and by highlighting great sports tourism destinations in Greece and establishing a tech team in the country, the startup is having a positive impact on Greece. I asked Alex about the key benefits and challenges of locating staff or operations in Greece and he highlighted the benefits of cost and pro-active attitudes and the challenges of working with a local rather than global mindset and the time to train staff. Alex’s advice to someone setting up a startup with team members in Greece would be “Take the time to nurture a global ambition and mindset into the team, also be mindful that processes like opening up bank accounts etc may take longer than expected so start the process sooner than later”.
In terms of their plans for the future Alex said “We want to be a one-stop shop used by endurance athletes to find, book and plan races worldwide, while also being an invaluable tool and partner for organisers in their efforts to dive sign-ups and increase sponsors.”
Racecheck are an inspiring example of how a great idea, dedication, hard work and a little help from RG can help to fast track a startup. Alex and Katerina’s lifestyle has changed a lot since they’ve become entrepreneurs. As Alex states “It’s a rollercoaster ride that requires a lot of grit and determination. The periods of stability are very rare, it’s usually either really hard or (less frequently) very good, but overall you feel like you’re really living your life with intention on a daily basis.” When asked what Reload Greece means to Racecheck, Alex quoted “To me, Reload Greece is an incredible organisation empowering driven individuals to shape their vision into a real business, and providing them with a sandbox to experiment and iterate.”
Meet this year’s RG YEP startups & accelerate your own entrepreneurial journey
It’s fantastic to see how Racecheck have accelerated and to hear their positive feedback on how participating in RG YEP and RG Challenge helped to support their development. We look forward to following their entrepreneurial journey further and to watching this year’s RG YEP finalist teams embark on their own exciting journeys. Don’t miss your chance to watch this year’s 14 finalist RG YEP teams pitch their innovative business ideas at the RG YEP Final Pitch Event on Saturday 30th March. Alexander Tanti will be speaking at the event sharing more on his journey since RG YEP and RG Challenge. And if you are an early stage start-up looking to fast track your business and become investment ready, applications for RG Challenge19 are open now! Hear more about the programme here and feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.