Shopify Announces Winners of 3rd Build a Business Competition

OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Apr. 24, 2013 — Shopify (, the industry-leading ecommerce platform used to create online stores, announced today the winners of its third Build a Business Competition. During the 8-month competition period, over 10,000 entrepreneurs created new online businesses that sold over $55 million in products. Grand prizes are awarded to shops with the highest sales over a two-month period.

Shopify partnered with Timothy Ferriss (The 4-Hour Workweek), Daymond John (Shark Tank, FUBU), Tina Roth Eisenberg (swissmiss) and Eric Ries (The Lean Startup), to offer each of the winners a $50,000 US investment in exchange for a 5% equity stake in their company.

Participants were placed in one of four categories based on the type of product they sold, and assigned a mentor with specific industry experience: Electronics and Gadgets, mentored by Timothy Ferriss, Fashion & Apparel, mentored by Daymond John, Design, Art & Home, mentored by Tina Roth Eisenberg, and “Everything Else,” mentored by Eric Ries. The competition ran from July 10, 2012 to February 28, 2013, with each of the mentors providing advice and guidance along the way.

“A lot of people have a great business idea, they just need a little push to make it a reality,” said Shopify Co-Founder and CEO Tobias Lütke. “This competition helps turn ideas into profitable businesses. Participants create an online store with Shopify and start selling within days. Along the way, we give them access to advice about marketing and sales from their mentor – someone who has already made it big and knows the ropes.”

The competition winners are:

GameKlip (Electronics & Gadgets) ( Ryan French is an Applied Computational Math Science student at the University of Washington. He created GameKlip, a precision molded clip that connects android phones to a Sony DualShock3 controller, allowing for mobile game play with a full-sized controller.

Fresh-Tops (Fashion & Apparel) ( Spawned by an orgy of glitter, ice cream and electro pop, Fresh-Tops is an exciting fashion brand created by Nella Chunky. Nella produces limited edition women’s clothing and accessories based on requests and suggestions made by fans on Facebook.

GoldieBlox (Design, Art & Home) ( Debbie Sterling is an Engineer at Stanford University. She went on Kickstarter and raised $285,881 to create a construction toy that encourages young girls to get into engineering, develop spatial skills and hone problem-solving abilities.

SkinnyMe Tea (Everything Else) ( Gretta van Riel created this successful brand of tea to help people detoxify and lose weight. The teas, made from natural ingredients, are said to increase metabolism, remove unwanted toxins from the body, and even improve digestion, complexion, and sleep.

Canadian Icons (Canadian) ( Aron Slipacoff partnered with some of Canada’s most historically significant brands to offer “Canadiana” to people all over the world. His shop sells well-known Canada Goose down parkas and handmade mukluks and moccasins by Manitobah Mukluks. The Canadian Icons website also serves as a resource for Canadian history.

In addition to the grand prizes, Shopify is awarding each of the winners a VIP trip to New York City to meet with their mentors, along with $20,000 toward digital advertising, and a special one-hour media strategy training session with editors at Fast Company Magazine.

This is Shopify’s third Build a Business Competition. In 2010, DODOcase, a handcrafted iPad, tablet and iPhone case company won the $100,000 grand prize. In 2011, Coffee Joulies, a company that manufactures polished stainless steel beans that regulates the temperature of coffee, won the $100,000 prize. Both companies have grown to become multi-million dollar businesses.

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About Shopify

Shopify is the leading omni-channel commerce platform. Merchants use Shopify to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including mobile, web, social media, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. The platform also provides merchants with a powerful back-office and a single view of their business, from payments to shipping. The Shopify platform was engineered for reliability and scale, making enterprise-level technology available to businesses of all sizes. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, Shopify currently powers over 800,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Nestle, Kylie Cosmetics, Allbirds, MVMT, and many more.