Retail real estate company Simon has unveiled Simon Launch — a new competition to discover, invest in and accelerate startups within the retail industry. Simon will invest in competition winners through its new venture capital arm, called Simon Venture Group. The contest was established in partnership with Plug and Play, a global investor firm specializing in tech startups.
“New technologies and the growth of omnichannel retailing are creating exciting opportunities for innovation,” said J. Skyler Fernandes, Managing Director of Simon Venture Group. “It is important for us to identify and work with companies that will help drive the evolution of the retail industry.”
Simon Launch will pick three winners from 10 finalists that will pitch their business to a panel of judges. Each winner will earn a $25,000 co-investment from Simon Venture Group and Plug and Play, free office space for one year at any U.S. Simon property and acceptance into the Plug and Play Retail Accelerator Program. Winners also will be considered for future investment from Simon Venture Group, increased marketing support and mentorship from industry executives.
“We are pleased to be co-investing with Simon Venture Group and plan to leverage their deep industry knowledge and expertise to advise our investment strategy in the retail space,” said Saeed Amidi, Founder and CEO of Plug and Play. “All of the players in the industry — brands, retailers and retail solution providers — are beginning to feel the pressure from consumers and competitors to innovate. We are excited to collaborate with forward-thinking companies like Simon to help accelerate innovation in the retail industry.”
Companies qualified for the contest can come from a variety of divisions, including: in-store technology, e-Commerce, data analytics, inventory management and logistics, security and more. Applications will be accepted on Simon Venture Group’s AngelList pagethrough Jan. 15, 2015.