An interview with Alexander Herbst, CEO of Deutsche Payment A1M SE.
Mr. Herbst, you are a passionate racing driver, formerly on the track and now in Simracing, that is, racing simulations. What excites you about racing and Simracing in particular?
Real racing and Simracing are actually not that far apart, except, for the G-force and the smells. Both sports are about speed, precision, and performance. You also need physical and mental fitness, just like on the job.
Together with the Nurburgring Long Distance Series (NLS), we launched the digital edition – the DNLS – in 2020, and we were surprised at the reactions. Ten million viewers watched the races in the first season, but the season was also packed with absolute highlights. In fact, all leading and distinguished people in GT racing participated.
Ten million is an impressive figure. What made you decide to launch the DNLS?
On the one hand, Simracing makes racing accessible to everyone. On top of that, eSports is much more scalable than real motorsports. You’re sitting in your rig somewhere in the world and you’re racing against Fernando Alonso on a track in America. That’s what happened to me one morning when I was driving some test laps in Daytona in preparation for an online 24-hour race. That’s impressive. In addition, Simracing stands for sustainability. Here, real e-fuel is refueled during the pit stop. There are also direct parallels between Simracing and Deutsche Payment and the payment industry in general.
What parallels between Deutsche Payment and Simracing do you mean?
The parallels are manifold. Both Deutsche Payment and the racers strive to achieve top performances. While Deutsche Payment aims to become a leading payment company in Germany and Europe, our drivers regularly achieve top positions in the racing series.
Rapid pace also characterizes the races as well as our industry: in terms of transactions, innovations and technology development, product life cycles, trends and customer preferences. That’s why we always strive not only to anticipate new developments, but to shape them. Speed is crucial in this regard.
Safety also plays a central role: in simulations, this is understandably significantly higher than on the real racetrack. For payment processing and solutions, security is crucial as well, because only the highest security standards facilitate customer trust.
How do you see the future of both Simracing/eSports and payments?
Performance, speed, and security will remain the yardsticks and will become even more important. Beyond the technology and performance aspects, sustainability and social responsibility will gain centerstage. On the one hand, all sports can and must be designed to be sustainable, fair, and inclusive. On the other hand, payment solutions should be accessible to all consumers and linked to sustainable business models. Innovative technologies should not create or reinforce inequality. Therefore, access barriers – for example for older consumers – have to be removed, and customer experience should have priority.