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Shopify Logo
Developer(s) Shopify
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Commerce
License Software as a service

Shopify is a Canadian commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario that develops computer software for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems.[1]

Shopify was founded in 2004, and was initially based on earlier software written by its founders for their online snowboard store.[2][3] The company reports that it has 150,000 merchants using its platform, with total gross merchandise volume exceeding $8 billion.[4]


Shopify was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake after attempting to open Snowdevil, an online store for snowboarding equipment. Unsatisfied with the existing e-commerce products on the market, Lütke, a programmer by trade, decided to build his own.[3][5][6]

Lütke used open source web application framework Ruby on Rails to build Snowdevil's online store, and launched it after two months' of development.[7][8] The Snowdevil founders launched the platform as Shopify in June 2006.[7]

In 2010, Shopify started its Build-A-Business competition, which has participants create a business using its commerce platform.[9][10] The winners of the competition receive cash prizes and mentorship from entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson, Daymond John, Timothy Ferriss and Eric Ries.[10] Shopify was also named Ottawa’s Fastest Growing Company by the Ottawa Business Journal in 2010.[7] During the next four years, the company's 40 employees[6] increased to more than 500 with offices in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Kitchener.[11]

The company received $7 million from an initial Series A funding round in December 2010.[12][13] In October 2011, Shopify received $15 million in Series B funding.[14] 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.[15][16]

In August 2013, Shopify acquired Jet Cooper, a 25-person design studio based in Toronto.[17] The company received $100 million in Series C funding in December 2013.[18]

By 2014, the platform claimed to host approximately 120,000 online retailers,[8][19][20] and was listed as #3 in Deloitte’s Fast50 in Canada, as well as #7 in Deloitte’s Fast 500 of North America.[21] On April 14, 2015, Shopify filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols "SHOP" and "SH" respectively.[22] Shopify went public on May 22, 2015, raising 51% during their first day of trading.[23]


Shopify is a fully managed commerce platform that helps establish online businesses and provides retail point-of-sale systems for both online and offline companies.[2][24] Shopify's core features include the ability to manage products, inventory, customers, orders and discounts. Merchants on Shopify may accept payments both online and in person using a built-in payment system, called Shopify Payments, or an external gateway, such as Paypal or Bitcoin payments.[24][25]

In June 2009, Shopify launched its API platform and App Store. The API allows developers to create applications for Shopify online stores and then sell them on the Shopify App Store. There are currently over 1000 free and paid apps.[4] Several companies have developed apps that integrate with the Shopify platform.[26][27]

The Shopify Theme Store was unveiled in April 2010. The store allows developers to sell theme templates using the Shopify platform. Shopify released a free mobile app on the Apple App Store in May 2010. The app lets Shopify store owners view and manage their stores from iOS mobile devices.[19]

In August 2013, Shopify announced the launch of Shopify Payments. Shopify Payments allows merchants to accept credit cards without requiring a third party payment gateway.[28] The company also announced the launch of an iPad-centric POS system. It uses an iPad to accept payments from credit cards.

In January 2014, the company released a redesigned version of its mobile app and launched a mobile card reader.[29][30][31] In February 2014, Shopify Plus was launched as a scalable e-commerce system designed for large companies and high-volume customers.[32]


Shopify launched Build-A-Business, a competition to create a business to sell products on its platform in 2010.[2][33] The competition created close to 1,400 new businesses that generated over $3.5 million in sales.[34] DODOcase, an iPad case manufacturer based in San Francisco, California was the grand prize winner of $100,000.[35] This competition has run annually since its establishment.[36][37][38][39][40] The winners of the 2015 edition of the competition generated between $300,000 and $750,000 per month in sales.[41]


Since its launch, Shopify has been well received by popular tech websites such as CNET, who say the platform is “clean, simple, and easy-to-use.”[42] The service was profiled in publications including The Wall Street Journal,[43] The New York Times,[2] The Vancouver Sun,[44] The Financial Post, TechCrunch,[45] and Mashable.[8][46]

Shopify was featured on Fast Company's list of Most Innovative Companies of 2012.[47] In 2013, Shopify was featured on CNBC's Disrupter 50 list.[48] The company's CEO, Tobias Lütke, won The Globe and Mail's CEO of the Year in 2014.[49]


  1. ^ Bradbury, Danny. Hands-off business a reality The Financial Post. April 21, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d Kolodny, Lora. Shopify, a start-Up, Starts Its Own Business Competition “New York Times”. February 2, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Cole, Trevor (27 November 2014). "Our Canadian CEO of the year you've probably never heard of". Globe & Mail. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Duncan, Katherine (12 March 2012). "How Shopify Became the Go-To Ecommerce Platform for Startups". Entrepreneur. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Whittaker, Stephanie.The Web as a safety net The Montreal Gazette. May 4, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Donnelly, Jim. Shopify picks up $7M in venture funding Ottawa Business Journal. December 13, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Donnelly, Jim. Fastest Growing Companies Ottawa Business Journal. May 3rd, 2010.
  8. ^ a b c Duryee, Tricia. E-Commerce Assistant Shopify Raises $7 Million in First Round All Things Digital. December 13, 2010.
  9. ^ Kolodny, Lora. Maker of iPad Cases Wins Shopify Competition “The New York Times”. July 19, 2010.
  10. ^ a b Rip Empson for TechCrunch. 10 July 2012 Shopify Teams Up With Tim Ferriss, Eric Ries, FUBU Founder To Help You Build A $1M eCommerce Biz
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Lewis, Rob. Ottawa's Shopify raises $7 Million Series A Funding from Bessemer, FirstMark, and Felicis Techvibes. December 13, 2010.
  13. ^ McLeod, Mark. Shopify Gets Fundified! StartupCFO. December 12, 2010.
  14. ^ Duryee, Tricia. "Shopify Picks Up $15 Million as It Faces New Competition From eBay". All Things D. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  15. ^ Rao, Leena (1 February 2012). "Ecommerce Platform Shopify Acquires Mobile App Development Studio Select Start". TechCrunch. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  16. ^ Berkow, Jameson (1 February 2012). "Ottawa tech merger: Shopify buys Select Start Studios". Financial Post. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Lindzon, Jared (1 August 2013). "Shopify acquires design agency Jet Cooper". BetaKit. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Etherington, Darrell. "Shopify Raises $100M To Drop The ‘E’ And Become The Commerce Company That Spans On- And Offline". Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  19. ^ a b Rip Empson (2013-04-11). "After 7 Years & 50K Storefronts Created, Shopify Launches Major Redesign To Simplify Online Store-Building". TechCrunch. 
  20. ^ Pileci, Vito. makes it easy for new online entrepreneurs The Montreal Gazette. September 20, 2010.
  21. ^ Louis Columbus (November 20, 2014). "Software Companies Are Dominating Deloitte's Technology Fast 500". Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  22. ^ "E-Commerce Software Maker Shopify Files for IPO". 14 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  23. ^ Tech IPO Scorecard: Shopify Skyrockets 51%, While Baozun Rises A Slimmer 4.6%
  24. ^ a b Throung, Alice (28 August 2013). "Shopify Bridges Online and Offline Shopping with Point-of-Sale Service". Fast Company. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  25. ^ Taylor, Marcus (24 February 2014). "How to Build a Website using WordPress, Wix or Shopify". Venture Harbor. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "channeladvisor-expands-webstores-solution-with-shopify". Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  27. ^ Novellino, Teresa (15 December 2014). "Wanelo deal with Shopify gives indie retailers a wing in digital mall". Upstart Business Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2015. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Shopify Revamps Its iOS App With A Focus On Payments And Store Management". January 2, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Shopify Cuts Credit Card Processing Fees To Take On Square". Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Shopify Updates iOS App, Take Orders Using Your iPhone". January 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Shopify Launches Shopify Plus, A New White Glove E-Commerce Solution For Big Brands". February 5, 2014. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  33. ^ Banister, Cyan (2011-11-10). "The Real Pirates of Silicon Valley". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  34. ^ "A $50,000 Benevolent Bribe: Is Today The Day You Finally Build Your Business?". Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Maker of iPad Cases Wins Shopify Competition (and $100,000)". July 19, 2010. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Ottawa’s Shopify offers a cash ‘kick in the butt’ to get businesses online". February 29, 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Shopify awards 5 winners of Build-A-Business challenge $50,000 in seed funding". April 26, 2013. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Shopify Announces Its Annual Build a Business Competition, Bring on Sir Richard Branson as a Mentor". September 22, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  39. ^ "Shopify's Build-A-Business Competition Winners Revealed". September 6, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  40. ^ "Shopify contest winners will fly to Richard Branson’s private retreat". September 22, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Powerful Marketing Principles From Building A 7 Figure Online Store From Scratch". July 23, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2015. 
  42. ^ Needleman, Rafe. Shopify makes quick work of setting up shop “CNET”. May 26, 2006.
  43. ^ Lora Kolodny for the Wall Street Journal. 12 Dec 2013. On Road to IPO, Shopify Raises $100M to ‘Bridge Clicks and Bricks’
  44. ^ Pilieci, Vito. Business booming at “The Vancouver Sun”. September 18, 2010.
  45. ^ Arrington, Michael. Shopify Was Worth the Wait “TechCrunch”. April 15, 2006.
  46. ^ Casel, Brian.40+ Web Design and Development Resources for Beginners “Mashable”. July 23, 2010.
  47. ^ "Most Innovative Companies 2012 - Industries Top 10 - Retail". Fast Company. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  48. ^ "CNBC Disruptor 50". CNBC. 13 May 2013. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  49. ^ Knowlton Thomas (November 27, 2014). "Shopify's Tobias Lütke Crowned CEO of 2014". TechVibes. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 

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