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Retail RE giants invest in Columbus startup

Posted by Kitty McConnell on July 29, 2013

Three major retail real estate groups have invested a total of $2.5 million in Columbus-based startup Jifiti, the company announced today. Schottenstein Stores Corp. along with Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group and the New York-based private investment firm the Jesselson Group. Jifiti would not disclose each company’s individual investment.          

Jifiti is a mobile gift-giving app that functions like a retail gift card with added personalization. Jifiti allows the purchaser to select a specific gift, scan it for purchase and send. The recipient receives notification of the gift through the Jifiti app, then picks up the gift from the nearest retial location in the desired size and color.

Participating retailers include Nike, Gap, Brookstone, Gamestop and Banana Republic. According to Jifiti, in addition to the investment Simon Property Group will push Jifiti marketing and distribution in “100 of its malls leading up to the holiday shopping season” in addition to the investment. Simon (NYSE:SPG) owns 327 retail real estate properties in the U.S. and Asia, including Tuttle Mall in Dublin. 

Simon Property Group’s CMO and President of Simon Brand Ventures Mikael Thygesen has joined the Jifiti board of directors.Yaacov Martin is Jifiti’s CEO and co-founder along with Meir Dudai and Shaul Weisband.

Jifiti has a patent pending on the technology that converts on in-store sale to an online gift. The company is incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in the TechColumbus incubator at 1275 Kinnear Road, though members of its development team work from Israel where the company was founded.

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