Simon joins digital VC game

With technology continuing to reshape the store experience, global retail real estate leader Simon Property Group is upping its digital game with the creation of a new venture capital group.

The company, which owns or has an interest in 325 retail properties encompassing 243 million square feet, has created Simon Ventures Group for the purpose of investing in retail innovation focused on opportunities that enhance the shopping experience.

Leading the undertaking will be J. Skyler Fernandes who will be responsible for identifying, evaluating, and making investments. Fernandes was previously a partner at Centripetal Capital Partners, a multi-stage venture capital fund, where he concentrated on consumer Internet, retail, and high-tech with commercial applications. He is also the founder of One Match Ventures, a seed fund focused on consumer Internet and high-tech companies.

Plans call for Simon Venture Group to invest in early-stage to high-growth technology companies, making seed to series C+ investments and focusing on both direct and indirect strategic investment opportunities.

"We believe we have only scratched the surface on applying technology to the retail environment in innovative, interesting ways,” said Simon Property Group’s chief marketing officer Mikael Thygesen. “We're excited to add Skyler (Fernandes) to the team and look forward to his active engagement with the venture capital and start-up community to capitalize on opportunities that will yield benefits for our consumers and our retailers.”

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