FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES #8: Shopify moves from "e-commerce" to "commerce"

David Sali
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Shopify is already the world’s dominant online storefront platform, with 100,000 retailers in more than 150 countries.

Harley Finkelstein is the chief platform officer for Shopify.

That’s more customers than its two nearest competitors combined. In the past 12 months, the Ottawa-based e-commerce giant has launched a series of new products, and in December, it landed $100 million in series-C venture capital.

But as far as chief platform officer Harley Finkelstein is concerned, Shopify has only scratched the surface in its mission to transform the way people buy and sell merchandise.

“I think in some ways we’re just getting started,” he says. “We have a phenomenal team. We have a very focused vision. We want to help merchants sell anything, anywhere, at any time.”

To that end, Shopify has expanded its product offerings to include a point-of-sale product that allows merchants to process payments using an iPad; Shopify Mobile, which lets businesses accept payments anywhere on a smartphone; and Shopify Payments, which allows merchants to process credit cards without a third-party payment gateway.

A couple of months ago, it introduced Shopify Plus. Larger customers such as Google and Budweiser can now customize their online storefronts with the specific features they want.

“Last year, we began the transition from being an e-commerce company to being a commerce company,” says Mr. Finkelstein. “That’s a big deal for us. We’ve done a really great job of democratizing e-commerce, online commerce, over the last eight years or so, and last year began our journey to democratizing the rest of retail, the rest of commerce.”

That strategy seems to be paying off for the ByWard Market-based firm, which has more than doubled its gross merchandise volume since the beginning of 2013. Now home to 424 employees, Shopify will be moving to larger headquarters at 150 Elgin St. later this year and expects to boost its headcount to about 700 by the end of the year.

Mr. Finkelstein says Shopify’s success proves you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley to be a trailblazing technology company.

“It doesn’t matter where you’re based,” he says. “It’s a matter of what you’re building and how passionate you are. If you have a great product and you have a great vision, you can build incredible businesses anywhere.”



MAJOR CUSTOMERS: Google, Budweiser, Gatorade

PRODUCT/SERVICE: Online storefront platform


Each year, OBJ profiles the fastest growing private companies in the National Capital Region. Firms are ranked by percentage revenue growth over their three most recent fiscal years. Companies must be cash-flow positive in all three years. Click here for more information.

Organizations: FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES, Google, Budweiser Shopify Mobile Gatorade

Geographic location: Ottawa, Silicon Valley

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