Tobias Lütke

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Tobias Lütke

Born1981 (age 40–41)
OccupationCEO, Shopify
Spouse(s)Fiona McKean

Tobias "Tobi" Lütke MSC is the founder and CEO of Shopify, an ecommerce company based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.[3][4][5][6][7] He has been part of the core team of the Ruby on Rails framework and has created open source libraries such as Active Merchant.[8]

Early life[edit]

Lütke was born in 1981.[9] He received a Schneider CPC (German brand of the Amstrad Colour Personal Computer distributed by the Schneider Rundfunkwerke AG) from his parents at the age of six.[10][11] By 11 or 12, he began rewriting the code of the games he played and modifying computer hardware as a hobby. Lütke dropped out of school and entered an apprenticeship program at the Koblenzer Carl-Benz-School to become a computer programmer after tenth grade.[12][13] He moved from Germany to Canada in 2002.[10][12]

Lütke cites John Carmack's .plan-files from the mid-1990's as "making a huge impression"[14] on him as a teenager and calls them a "a master class in systems design".[15]


In 2004, Lütke, along with his partners, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake, launched Snowdevil, an online snowboard shop.[5][16][17] Lütke built a new e-commerce platform for the site, using Ruby on Rails.[18][13][19] Soon after, the Snowdevil founders shifted their focus from snowboards to e-commerce and launched Shopify in 2006.[20][21][22] He currently owns 7% of Shopify, which went public in 2015.[23]

The Globe and Mail named Lütke "CEO of the Year" in November 2014.[24][25] Lütke was presented with the Meritorious Service Cross on November 5, 2018 for his work in supporting the growth of the Canadian technology industry.[26] In 2019, Lütke donated 1,000,001 seedlings to Team Trees, the biggest donation as of December 20, 2021, with the message, "For the Lorax".[27] In 2021, Lütke donated $1,200,001 to Team Seas, the biggest donation as of December 20, 2021, with the message "For the Lorax... but wet.".[28]

On September 8, 2021 it was announced that Lütke, along with former and current Shopify top executives and Celtic House Venture Partners, invested $3 million in Creative Layer, "a global personalized print-on-demand platform for managing Shopify orders, proofs, fulfillment, and team members".[29]


  1. ^ Tobi Lutke [@tobi] (2018-07-06). "I'm precisely average male height (5 foot 10) but from many U.S. retailers the best fitting shirts are XS. Vanity sizing needs to stop" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 2020-05-03 – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "Forbes profile: Tobi Lutke". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  3. ^ "Episode: 375: Tobias Lutke - Founder & CEO of Shopify". 2013-08-06. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  4. ^ "First family of Shopify to restore Opinicon resort". 2015-01-28. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  5. ^ a b "Fluke and luck: Shopify's co-founder profited from both". 2012-10-05. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  6. ^ "Founder to CEO: Tobias Lutke, Shopify". 2013-06-07.
  7. ^ "THE CASE FOR SWAGGER: CANADIANS HAVE A LOT TO BE PROUD OF". 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2020-11-15.
  8. ^ "Tobias Lutke, CEO, Shopify at Business of Software 2011". 2012-05-23. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  9. ^ "Schulversager, Programmier-Genie, Milliardär". 2018-09-07. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  10. ^ a b "Our Canadian CEO of the year you've probably never heard of". 2014-11-27. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  11. ^ "Ich war ein miserabler Schüler". 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  12. ^ a b "Shopify: Koblenzer revolutioniert Onlineshops". 2014-05-02. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  13. ^ a b "Against the Grain" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  14. ^ @tobi (2021-02-11). "Had occasion to remember this series of articles by @ID_AA_Carmack from (I think?) August 1996 that ended up making a huge impression on me as a kid" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  15. ^ @tobi (2021-02-11). "The post are fun. Not only is it a master class in systems design it's also so... driven?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ "Q&A with Tobias Lütke of Shopify". 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  17. ^ "Finding Business Motivation in Industry Leaders". 2014-01-10. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  18. ^ "Shopify picks up $7M in venture funding". 2010-12-13. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  19. ^ "Top 5 Keys to Shopify's Success – an Interview with Tobias Lutke". 2010-12-22. Archived from the original on 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  20. ^ "FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES: #1 - Shopify". 2010-05-03. Archived from the original on 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  21. ^ "Zwei Deutsche mischen Kanadas Gründerszene auf". 2014-05-12. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  22. ^ "Shopify auf der Überholspur". 2014-02-10. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  23. ^ "Tobi Lutke". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  24. ^ "Shopify's Tobias Lutke Crowned CEO of 2014". 2014-11-27. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  25. ^ Knowlton Thomas (2014-11-27). "Tobias Lutke Crowned CEO of 2014". Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  26. ^ Office of the Secretary to the Governor General (2018-11-01). "Governor General to Honour Remarkable Canadians at Rideau Hall". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved 2021-12-12.
  27. ^ "Team Trees Official Website". #teamtrees. Retrieved 2020-09-20.
  28. ^ "Help us remove 30 million pounds of trash by January 1st, 2022 - Join #TeamSeas". Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  29. ^ "Creative Layer Receives $3 Million Investment from Tobi Lütke, Celtic House Venture Partners & Other Notable Investors". financialpost. Retrieved 2021-09-16.