Plug and Play is an interesting accelerator with an even more interesting story. The co-founder Saeed Amidi opened up a rug shop in Palo Alto in the 70’s and ended up renting some of his building’s extra space to local startups in return for partial equity in their companies. These startups grew up to be companies like Google, PayPal and LendingClub and their growth transformed Amidi into one of the most successful early-stage technology investors. Amidi took his earnings and started Plug and Play, a multi-faceted accelerator that has different investment verticals (including real estate obviously). Rather than taking equity in the companies in its program, it partners with industry leaders to help them find solutions to their problems and invests alongside of them with its own “side-car” fund. This model is similar to corporate venture capital and was adopted by other big PropTech investors Fifth Wall.
One of the unique things about Plug and Play is that, even though it is a Silicon Valley-based organization, it has programs all over the world. Cushman and Wakefield operates globally so it makes sense that they would want to have a partner that was able to source innovation from every region in the world. Amidi said this about the geographical breadth of the partnership:
“By combining the power of Plug and Play’s international footprint through innovation platforms in China, Japan, U.S., France, Germany and the Middle East with Cushman & Wakefield’s reach as a global leader in the real estate industry, we are creating the biggest and best innovation platform in the world.”
“We are very proud of this partnership with Cushman & Wakefield, which will aim to create massive innovation in the industry. Piloting new technologies in different continents and rolling out the best solutions will create great value for the entrepreneurs and startups, for Cushman & Wakefield, for Plug and Play, and most importantly, for real estate owners and corporations.”
While many of the problems plaguing the property industry are universal, differences in the property landscape of each region and country often require unique solutions. We will be following how Plug and Play and Cushman and Wakefield navigate those differences in the way they collectively source tech startups as they begin to work together on this initiative.