POLITICS

From snowboards to success: five things to know about Shopify's rise

05/21/2015 02:17 EDT | Updated 05/21/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Here are five things to know about Shopify, the Ottawa-based e-commerce company that debuted Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:

E-Commerce: Shopify's products allow anyone to sell products via the Internet. The company targets small- and medium-sized business with software for designing, building and managing sales across the web, mobile applications and stores. Its 165,000 customers in 150 countries include automaker Tesla Motors and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers. Sixty per cent of its client base is in the United States.

Value: Shopify has raised $122 million from investors, including OMERS Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. The company's IPO was priced at US$17 per share, up from the $14 to $16 range the company had previously indicated, because of investor interest. With 74.4 million shares outstanding, the IPO valued Shopify at $1.27 billion.

Humble beginnings: The company grew from the modest ambitions of three Ottawa men looking to sell snowboarding equipment online. The platform they built turned into Shopify, which began offering its services to other businesses in 2006. The original snowboarding shop is still selling boards, bindings and goggles on the web.

Growth: Originally five people and a dream of online commerce, Shopify now has more than 500 employees in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. The company's new six-floor, 102,000 square-foot headquarters in downtown Ottawa can accommodate 740 employees and Shopify plans to fill the space.

Business model: Around 60 per cent of Shopify's revenue comes from selling subscriptions to its platform, according to its IPO filing. The company offers a variety of plans at different price points and the platform offers merchants the ability to manage inventory, process orders and payments as well as interact with their customers. The first quarter saw subscription payments grow 71 per cent from the same period last year to $22.4 million from $13.1 million.

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