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Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. It is also the name of its proprietary e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Shopify offers online retailers of a suite of services "including payments, marketing, shipping and customer engagement tools to simplify the process of running an online store for small merchants."
|Revenue||$673.3 million (2017)|
Number of employees
Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake after attempting to open Snowdevil, an online store for snowboarding equipment. Dissatisfied with the existing e-commerce products on the market, Lütke, a computer programmer by trade, instead built his own. Lütke used the open source web application framework Ruby on Rails to build Snowdevil's online store, and launched it after two months of development.
The Snowdevil founders launched the platform as Shopify in June 2006.
In April 2010, Shopify launched a free mobile app on the Apple App Store. The app lets Shopify store owners view and manage their stores from iOS mobile devices. In 2010, Shopify started its Build-A-Business competition, in which participants create a business using its commerce platform. The winners of the competition receive cash prizes and mentorship from entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson, Eric Ries and others. Shopify was named Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Company by the Ottawa Business Journal in 2010. The company received $7 million from an initial series A round of venture capital financing in December 2010. Its Series B round raised $15 million in October 2011.
In February 2012, Shopify acquired Select Start Studios Inc ("S3"), a mobile software developer, along with 20 of the company's mobile engineers and designers. In August 2013, Shopify acquired Jet Cooper, a 25-person design studio based in Toronto.
In August 2013, Shopify announced the launch of Shopify Payments, which allowed merchants to accept credit cards without requiring a third party payment gateway. The company also announced the launch of an iPad-centric point of sale system. It uses an iPad to accept payments from debit and credit cards. The company received $100 million in Series C funding in December 2013.
By 2014, the platform hosted approximately 120,000 online retailers, and was listed as #3 in Deloitte’s Fast50 in Canada, as well as #7 in Deloitte’s Fast 500 of North America. Shopify earned $105 million in revenue in 2014, twice as much as it raised the previous year.
On April 14, 2015, Shopify filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols "SHOP" and "SH" respectively. Shopify went public on May 21, 2015, and in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange, started trading at $28, more than 60% higher than its USD$17 offering price, with its IPO raising more than $131 million.
In September 2015, Amazon.com announced it would be closing its Amazon Webstore service for merchants, and had selected Shopify as the preferred migration provider; Shopify's shares jumped more than 20% upon the news.
On October 3, 2016, Shopify acquired Boltmade. In November 2016, Shopify partnered with Paystack which allowed Nigerian online retailers to accept payments from customers around the world. On November 22, 2016, Shopify launched Frenzy, a mobile app that improves flash sales. On December 5, 2016, Shopify acquired Toronto-based mobile product development studio Tiny Hearts. The Tiny Hearts building has been turned into a Shopify research and development office.
In September 2018, Shopify announces plans to locate thousands of employees in Toronto's King West neighborhood in 2022 as part of the "The Well" complex, jointly owned by Allied Properties REIT and RioCan REIT.
Online cannabis sales in Ontario used Shopify's software when the drug was legalized in October 2018. Shopify's software will also be used for in-person cannabis sales in Ontario when it is legalized in 2019.
According to a media release, Shopify is venturing out of cyberspace with a permanent location in LA where business owners can come to both get advice from staff, and also to connect with other members of the entrepreneurial community.
In their new locale, aspiring entrepreneurs can take educational classes and get involved with a workshop to further their careers. In addition, events will be held monthly to showcase new products, provide networking opportunities, and host panels to discuss the ups and downs of independent business ownership.
In 2017, the #DeleteShopify hashtag campaign called for a boycott of Shopify for allowing Breitbart News to host a shop on its platform. Shopify's CEO, Tobias Lütke, responded to the criticism, saying "refusing to do business with the site would constitute a violation of free speech".
In October 2017, activist short-seller Andrew Left released a detailed report which described the e-commerce platform as a "get-rich-quick" scheme that is against Federal Trade Commission regulations. The day the report was released, the stock plunged more than 11%. The main question he posed was "Outside the roughly 50,000 verifiable merchants working with Shopify, who are the other 450,000 the company says it has?" Third-party marketing tactics are expected to be improved going forward.
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