Rapid growth could be in the cards for Shopify’s Waterloo Region sales lab in wake of last month’s successful initial public offering (IPO).

The Ottawa-based commerce software company put Canadian tech back on the map when it went public last Thursday with a valuation that soared to $1.9 billion.

“It’s an exciting time for us and a lot of hard work went into getting us to where we are today,” said Harley Finkelstein, Chief Platform Officer at Shopify.

“The IPO is a huge milestone for Shopify and definitely kicking off the next phase of our business,” he said.

For Canadian tech companies, the IPO holds the potential for much greater impact.

“I think it’s really exciting to see companies going public,” said Iain Klugman, CEO of Communitech. “We need lots of startups, lots of high-growth companies and lots of different kinds of liquidation events other than acquisitions – you need a mix.”

Having startups that build and go public, rather than exit through acquisition, also lends credibility to Canada’s tech industry.

“(The IPO) validates a lot of what we already all know, that you can build a great technology company in Canada. There is a large pool of talent in the country and in the Kitchener-Waterloo region,” Finkelstein said.

That talent pool is the reason Shopify chose Waterloo Region to set up its sales office last October.

“(The IPO) means continued growth and opportunity for our company to develop and expand the office here,” he said.

Sales expertise has been a missing ingredient to the success of Waterloo Region’s engineering-focused tech sector in recent years. Shopify’s decision to locate here, along with measures like Communitech’s new Rev accelerator for companies looking to scale revenue, could go a long way to addressing that gap.

Klugman sees the IPO as a turning point for Canadian tech. “It’s great to see the first out of the gate being Shopify and bunch of others who will come shortly on their heels.”

Photo: (centre) Loren Padelford, Head Sales Scientist at Shopify, with expanding Kitchener sales team. 

About The Author

Trish Crompton
Digital Journalist/Social Media Manager

Trish Crompton brings her passion for technology and digital media expertise to Communitech's External Relations team. Trish was born in Sydney, Australia and has called Waterloo Region home since 2008. She is a marketing graduate of Conestoga College.