Canadian online shopping giant Shopify said it is making an investment of up to half a billion dollars as the anchor tenant of The Well, a new real estate development in downtown Toronto, media reports said.
Shopify, which is a Canadian e-commerce company headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, is also the name of its proprietary e-commerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. It has more than 600,000 merchants using its platform with total gross merchandise volume exceeding $55 billion.
The Financial Post reported that Shopify’s vice-president and GM of channels Satish Kanwar said the investment represents a statement about the company’s commitment to Canada, and how they plan to remain a foundational part of the Toronto tech industry.
“I don’t think any other major technology player can say that they’ve invested as much as Shopify has into the success of the Toronto ecosystem in that same timeframe.” He said.
While Shopify’s core business is providing e-commerce services for online merchants, in recent years it has been expanding to provide essentially a retail dashboard for merchants, supporting shipping, customer service, advertising and other services. The company also recently opened up its first brick and mortar store.
However Shopify’s physical store doesn’t work like a retail outlet with products in it. It is essentially a place for helping entrepreneurs who are Shopify merchants grow their businesses. Rather than attract new customers, the Shopify store is intended to actually attract new merchants.
Shopify also brought Unite, its annual partner conference to Toronto for the first time this year, and plans to hold the conference in the city again in 2019. Previously the event was held in San Francisco.
The company is also doing great in the revenues and has seen increasing sales. It also reported a surprise quarterly profit as more merchant and subscribers used the platform. Shopify’s software enables merchants to sell everything from infant formula to cosmetics online and also enables people to start their own businesses.
“Concentration of ideas, people, technology and companies is a really valuable thing, and for us, being in the heart of the city, we’re investing in increasing that concentration and expanding the creative core of Toronto into the King West neighbourhood,” Kanwar said.
The technology sector in Toronto is growing very quickly and the city is now viewed as the fastest growing hub for tech related jobs in Canada and the U.S. with Shopify leading the way.