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Simon Gets Technical With New Plug and Play Collaboration


Simon has long been known as one of the pre-eminent players in retail real estate and shopping center management and development. But with the formation of a new venture capital division, Simon Venture Group, and collaboration with Plug and Play, a global investor and technology accelerator that specializes in growing tech startups, Simon is looking to take a leading role in retail IT, as well.

“Simon plays a unique role in the ecosystem of retail real estate,” said J. Skyler Fernandes, managing director of Simon Venture Group. “We can help make introductions of startups to our clients for the benefit of our clients.”

Finding the startup stars of tomorrow

Seeking to locate and fund startups that can help its shopping center tenants with solutions that assist in core retail functions, as well as in areas such as payment, data analysis, e-commerce, energy management and security, Simon Venture Group is collaborating with Plug and Play on the Simon Launch competition.

Currently accepting applications, in January 2015 Simon Launch will select one to three winners out of 10 finalists. Winning startups will receive a $25,000 cash co-investment from Simon Venture Group and Plug and Play, as well as free office space at any Simon property in the U.S. (including the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto), and automatic acceptance into the Plug and Play retail accelerator.

Taking a leading role

“We chose to collaborate with Plug and Play, and also join them as an anchor member, because they have a specifically retail-focused accelerator located in Silicon Valley and great relationships with the venture capital funds and angel investors there,” explained Fernandes. He also discussed the longer-term vision for Simon Venture Group’s IT investment activities.

“Our real goal is to become the main retail technology investment fund,” stated Fernandes. “Like what Google Ventures or Intel Capital does with technology investment in general.”

Editor’s Note: For more information on the Simon Launch competition visit

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