REAL ESTATE

New retail accelerator by Westfield Labs, R/GA seeks innovators

BY CSA STAFF

Target is not the only organization looking for a few good retail IT start-ups.

New York-based digital advertising agency R/GA is partnering with San Francisco-based Westfield Labs, the innovation lab subsidiary of shopping center operator Westfield Corp., to launch the R/GA Connected Commerce Accelerator. The application process is open to start-ups across the globe through May 23, 2016.

The accelerator is inviting applications from growth-stage and early-stage start-ups focused on connected commerce, the mall/in-store experience, or consumer engagement. Specific areas of focus include in-store experiences, mobile commerce, payments, merchandising, customer service, analytics, CRM and loyalty, social commerce, blockchain, POS, delivery and distribution, virtual and augmented reality, inventory, and workforce management.

Start-ups selected to participate in the Connected Commerce Accelerator will have access to resources from R/GA and Westfield Labs. They will also have opportunities to receive input from and collaborate with program partners including Macy’s, Shopify, Bank of America Merchant Services, and Verizon.

In addition, R/GA will provide start-up participants with business transformation, strategic marketing, branding, design and technology services, as well access to its partners, mentors and investors. Participants will also have access to the Westfield Labs team

“At Westfield Labs, we are committed to building digital experiences that connect consumers with our retail partners,” said Kevin McKenzie, global chief digital officer, Westfield Corp. “Our team is thrilled to collaborate with R/GA and world-class retail partners to evangelize and promote talent and innovation in the commerce space.”

Up to 10 start-ups will be selected to participate in the program, which will take place in San Francisco starting Aug. 1, 2016 and conclude in late October 2016. There will be an invite-only demo day where participants can present to investors and industry members from the retail, e-commerce and technology industries.

It is no accident that established retail innovation labs like those of Target and Westfield Corp. are looking for fresh innovative ideas outside their four walls. Proprietary innovation is an invaluable asset, but retailers also need to complement in-house technology development with the best outside ideas, which often rest with underfunded and undiscovered start-ups.

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REAL ESTATE

Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT II, Inc. and TPG Real Estate announce partnership

BY Melonie Messina

Cincinnati — Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT II and TPG Real Estate announced the formation of a partnership to acquire high-quality, value-added grocery-anchored shopping centers throughout the United States. The Partnership will invest up to $250 million of equity and plans to leverage this capital to achieve a $750 million acquisition target. The Partnership will initially acquire six grocery-anchored shopping centers and will focus on growing the platform through add-on acquisitions located in fundamentally strong markets that present attractive return potential through operational and capital improvements.

“This Partnership is a strong endorsement of our investment strategy and operating platform, and we are excited to be partnering with TPG Real Estate, a leading private equity real estate investor,” stated Jeff Edison, chairman and CEO of Phillips Edison Grocery Center REIT II. “Through this new vehicle, we are able to expand the REIT’s investment universe by taking advantage of acquisition opportunities that offer the potential for higher returns.”

“We look forward to partnering with the Phillips Edison organization to create a scaled portfolio of grocery-anchored assets that will benefit from Phillips Edison’s operational expertise, as well as positive fundamental trends in the sector,” said Avi Banyasz, partner at TPG and co-head of TPG Real Estate.

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REAL ESTATE

Vestar acquires retail center in Seattle area for $31.4 million

BY CSA STAFF

Tacoma, Wash. — Vestar announced that it has acquired James Center located in Tacoma, Washington, for $31.4 million.

The 140,240 sq. ft. center is located directly across from Tacoma Community College, which enrolls nearly 14,000 students per year. James Center is anchored by Fred Meyer and Rite, as well as feature tenants: Starbucks, Subway, Verizon, Menchie’s, U.S. Bank, IHOP, FedEx Kinko’s and Ivar’s.

Over the past 12 months, Vestar has acquired five retail centers valued at $670 million throughout the western states.

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