Shopify raises $100M as e-commerce provider looks offline

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Ottawa-based e-commerce provider Shopify has secured $100 million in venture capital investment, the company announced on Thursday morning.

Harley Finkelstein is Shopify's chief platform officer.

By Jacob Serebrin

The deal is the second largest venture capital investment ever made in a Canadian software company.

The Series C investment is being led by OMERS Ventures and New York-based Insight Venture Partners. Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, Georgian Partners, and Felicis Ventures are also participating in the round.

Shopify plans to use the money to increase its staff and to continue developing its offline offerings.

“The future of retail isn’t online versus offline,” said Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s chief platform officer. “It’s about consumer choice.”

He said the company’s goal is to allow its customers to use the same sales system wherever they’re making sales and have a single, central database with customer and financial data.

“Right now, nothing is integrated,” Mr. Finkelstein said. “You have these different silos. We want to integrate them into one Shopify dashboard.”

The company has already taken steps to move in this direction.

In late August, Shopify launched a point of sale iPad application. According to Mr. Finkelstein, customers can use the application to make sales in brick and mortar stores along with less traditional locations, like pop-up shops, farmer’s markets and trade shows.

“We want to do the same thing offline as we do online,” he said.

Mr. Finkelstein said he believes the company can give small and medium-sized retailers a lower-cost, more flexible POS option.

The companies currently making POS systems “are dinosaurs,” he said. “POS is ripe for disruption.”

Shopify will also use some of the new investment to increase its headcount.

The company, which currently has 320 employees, plans to grow to over 500 before the end of the next year.

He said the first big hiring push will be in Ottawa. The company also plans to expand its Toronto and Montreal offices.

“People come to Shopify from all walks of life,” he said. “We want people who act like owners, people who are passionate about hanging retailers.”

According to Mr. Finkelstein, Shopify’s 80,000 customers are on track to make $1.5 billion in sales through its system this year.

“We’ve given small business the same tools as the big guys,” he said.

This is the third round of venture funding that Shopify has received. It previously raised $22 million in 2010 and 2011.

Organizations: Insight Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Georgian Partners Felicis Ventures

Geographic location: Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal

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