Shopify to open 'sales lab' in Kitchener

Ottawa-based Shopify, a company that makes an online retail platform that helps small businesses sell their goods on the Internet, is expanding into Kitchener.

Online retail startup to open its new office inside Communitech

Shopify founder and CEO Tobias Lütke. The Ottawa-based company is expanding into Kitchener. (Ben Courtice/Shopify)

Ottawa-based Shopify, a company that makes an online software platform that helps businesses sell their goods on the Internet, is expanding into Kitchener.

Shopify is looking to hire five people for what it calls a 'sales lab' that will be located in the Communitech Hub in downtown Kitchener, and will focus on ways for the company to reach new businesses.

According to chief platform Officer, Harley Finkelstein, the company was attracted to the region because of its burgeoning tech scene. 

"What became obvious to us was you had this great place, Kitchener-Waterloo, where everyone was opening offices there for the engineering talent, but there's probably also a ton of great sales and business people who have a penchant, or passion, or a background even, in technology," said chief platform office, Harley Finkelstein.

The five-person team will be led by Loren Padelford, the company's 'chief sales scientist.'

"Assuming it works out the way we think it's going to work out, that office will likely grow fairly quickly," said Finkelstein. 

Shopify was started in 2006 by Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake to sell snowboards online. Now, the company has about 500 employees, with offices in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto and its software runs over 120,000 online stores. In December last year, Shopify raised $100 million in venture capital funding. 

The company has also created hardware and software packages so that users can set up an iPad to act as a point of sale machine in store or make sales through a smartphone with a mobile app and card reader. 

They work with small businesses as well as larger Canadian companies like jacket-maker Moose Knuckles and Herschel, which makes backpacks and bags. Large American partners include Gatorade, Tesla and Budweiser. 

"But most of our customers are small businesses, and that's really going to be the focus of that particular office," said Finkelstein.