E-commerce giant Shopify proud of its Ottawa roots

Its services power many well-known online businesses and you probably don’t even know it.

Canada’s e-commerce darling Shopify is what allows small businesses and major companies from Nestle to Red Bull and Penguin Books sell and take orders online.

Most of that work is being done right here in the capital.

 “Ottawa is really incredible,” said Shopify’s Director of Talent Acquisition Anna Lambert. “It is or used to be a best kept secret. I think there is an incredible opportunity for tech. There is so much talent here already. We have been growing over the last 12 years and hiring a lot of great people here.”

Started by two Ottawa entrepreneurs in 2006, the once scrappy start-up now employees more than 3,000 people around the world. It’s Lambert’s job to find and hire top talent to continue growing the company. Right now, she and others in recruitment are in the process of filling more than one hundred vacant positions.  

“There isn’t a ton of resources to show people what it’s like to live here,” she said. “So we are developing that and two we are bringing them here to show them. Many of them are so impressed and most of them end up joining us and moving here.”

Attracting many to Ottawa is a more affordable lifestyle, a vibrant food scene and the city's active outdoor culture. It's those themes Shopify's HQ on Elgin Street tries to draw from. Each floor is designed to reflect a theme from Canadian to prohibition and even east coast style. In addition to that unique vibe, employees are also provided a catered lunch every day and fully stocked coffee rooms and kitchens on every floor. 

David Lennie is part of that growing tech landscape in Ottawa. He was recruited from Netflix in San Francisco and says he’s has never looked back.

“It feels like Washington, DC felt in the late 90s when AOL came and a political town became a technical town,” he said. “Now you see a lot of change and I see that happening with Ottawa.”  

Despite its early and rapid success, there are signs Shopify's growth is starting to slow. The Ottawa-based company revealed Tuesday that its year-over-year revenue grew by 62 per cent in the company's second quarter, down from 68 per cent the quarter before and 75 per cent, which it posted in the first quarter of 2017.

Shopify has seen its year-over-year revenue growth drop consistently over the last six quarters, even as it unveiled a slew of new features and services for merchants, including a tap and chip payment reader, tipping, in-store pickup and multi-channel return and exchange options, and prominent merchants like Red Bull, Nestle, Kylie Cosmetics and Rebecca Minkoff flocked to the platform. 

The company has said it has full confidence in its business model and believes big things are in for its future. 

With files from the Canadian Press