The Westfield Corporation is a multi-billion-dollar retailer that operates more than 30 malls in the U.S. and the U.K. In the face of increased online competition; the company is seeking to embrace start-ups to breathe new life into the brick-and-mortar retail industry.
The retailer recently teamed up with advertising firm R/GA to help grow and promote start-up companies that will introduce new technologies into malls and develop programs that will incentivize customers to spend more time at physical shops.
New Accelerator Focusing On High Tech Start-ups
The list of companies that they have recruited includes Oak, which is a start-up that has developed an interactive fitting room mirror that lets customers interact with it and even checkout through it. Another start-up is Darkstore, which has developed a program that allows physical stores to act as local storage centers for online e-commerce companies, helping struggling retailers by providing another revenue stream.
What’s more is that the accelerator also seeks to connect these start-ups to established companies such as Macy’s and Walmart, to help them develop the industry connections they need to implement their products successfully.
R/GA will assist the start-ups with finding other investors and developing their brands and designs, and will work with them through the entirety of the three-month program, which is being held in San Francisco. All the while, Westfield Labs, a research arm of the Westfield Corporation, will be providing their tools and expertise to the companies.
The program is part of an industry-wide push to start integrating new technologies in existing malls. Kevin McKenzie of Westfield Labs said in a recent article how the company is “committed to infusing digital into our physical shopping environments to create new customer experiences.”
The Westfield Corporation is giving up to $120,000 to the start-ups in return for an up to 5% stake in the new companies. The program will end with an exclusive event where the ten companies will present their business models and products to technology and retail industry leaders and also potential investors.
The Westfield Corporation
The Westfield Corporation was originally part of the Westfield Group, which was founded in 1959 by Frank Lowy in Sydney, Australia.
The corporation itself was established in 2014 when the Westfield Group decided to spin-off its international operations into a new company.
Westfield has two brothers serving as co CEOs: Steven and Peter Lowy
The relatively new Westfield Corporation manages and develops malls in the U.S., the U.K., and Italy.