Shopify Announces Winners of Inaugural Build a BIGGER Business Competition

Winners receive a one-of-a-kind, eight-day entrepreneurship experience, including mentorship from some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs - Tony Robbins, Daymond John, Debbie Sterling and more

Ottawa, Canada — September 5, 2017 – Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP)(TSX:SHOP), the leading multi-channel commerce platform, today announced the winners of its inaugural Build a BIGGER Business Competition. Born from Shopify’s Build a Business competition, one of the world’s largest competitions for entrepreneurs, Build a BIGGER Business aims to help later-stage start-ups and trend-shaping entrepreneurs scale their business to reach new heights.

“The opportunity to support more entrepreneurs is really what inspired us to create Build a BIGGER Business,” said Harley Finkelstein, the Chief Operating Officer of Shopify. “We understand that the challenges facing later-stage business are different from those looking to make their first sale. That’s why we wanted to evolve the competition and create an experience focussed on providing the right coaching, right tools and right mindset for entrepreneurs looking to grow from $1 million to $50 million and beyond.”

From March to July 2017, Build a BIGGER Business competitors were asked to grow or scale their businesses using traditional and non-traditional strategies and tactics. To help with this growth, competitors were given access to the exclusive Build a BIGGER Business online academy, including immersion sessions with mentors on topics ranging from organizational leadership to how to optimize your sales funnel.

Winners of Build a BIGGER Business will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, receive strategic and creative planning/support from leading brand-building agency Sid Lee and a trip to Namale Resort & Spa in Fiji for five days of mentorship with some of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world, including Tony Robbins, Tim Ferriss, Marie Forleo and Debbie Sterling.

Build a BIGGER Business By the Numbers:

  • The Build a BIGGER Business Competition attracted applicants from 70 different countries, spread over 750different cities
  • Over the course of five months, competitors generated over 8 million orders, resulting in more than half a billion dollars in gross merchandise volume (GMV). Stacking half a billion $1 bills would reach more than 42.2 miles in height and stretch beyond the Earth’s Stratosphere
  • The average growth for the businesses participating in the competition was 14% during the competition period
  • The Top 10 participants with the highest percentage growth increased their GMV by an average of over 500%
  • The Top 50 participants with the highest percentage growth increased their GMV by an average of 107%

To enter the Build a BIGGER Business competition, participants needed to have an existing business on the Shopify Platform with sales between $1 million and $50 million USD.  The contest ran from March 1, 2017 to July 2017, and eight winners in eight respective categories were selected:

  • Highest Total Gross Sales Gain: Gymshark

Gymshark is a global fitness apparel and accessories brand for both men and women, targeting a key audience of 18-25 year old’s in over 170 countries worldwide. Based in the United Kingdom, Gymshark was founded in 2012 by Ben Francis. From a screen printing operation in a garage, to the fastest growing company in the UK, Gymshark has dedicated itself to creating innovative and effective performance wear and is one of the fastest growing & most recognized global brands within the fitness market. Gymshark are focused on creating hype, disrupting the market and stimulating demand through innovative brand building campaigns and creating innovative product.

South Australian based Skinnymixers is backed by an amazing online community dedicated to sharing healthy thermal cooking recipes, which has helped launch 5 best-selling self-published cookbooks. While struggling to lose weight after child birth, founder Nikalene Riddle noticed a distinct lack of healthy Thermomix recipes in the cooking community. She channeled her passion for creating healthy food without sacrificing on taste to create cookbooks, which reflected her understanding of the need for flexibility in a recipe to cater for a wide range of dietary needs. Nikalene has built one of the largest and most active healthy recipe and lifestyle groups on Facebook to over 145,000 members.

Knixwear is an active intimates brand that is reinventing intimate apparel to enable women to embrace the blood, sweat, and tears that accompany a life well lived. The brand launched in 2013 with a line of leakproof performance underwear, which continues to be a top-seller. Founder Joanna Griffiths expanded the brand with the 8-in-1 Evolution bra in 2015, which became the most funded fashion Kickstarter project in history, with over $1.6M in pre-sales. A firm believer that women of all shapes and sizes look beautiful in their products, Knixwear opts to use customers in their photoshoots instead of models, and has earned a cult following through constant innovation and continued commitment to a culture of listening.

While working with his brother’s band, A Great Big World, founder Chris Vaccarino realized that many fans wanted a deeper connection with the ones they admire. After 2 years of focusing on custom box sets for Influencers with a fan base (think subscription boxes), Chris saw the opportunity to support Content Creators (YouTubers) with all things merchandise. As YouTubers focused their time on creating consistent digital content, it was obvious that there was a huge opportunity for them to sell merchandise directly to their fans, but had no time to organize it. Fanjoy evolved and is now an end-to-end solution for anyone with a fan base to create custom merchandise experiences for their fans without any risk or upfront cost. These Influencers use their life experiences, identity, interests, and content to create meaningful merchandise that their fans will love (aka “Fanjoying”).

BestSelf Co is a young high-growth company founded by Cathryn Lavery and Allen Brouwer, on a mission to change the world through providing people with the tools to reach their full potential. They do this by bringing focus, strategy, and action to big goals and cutting out all the noise, helping people better themselves, and by extension, the world. Since hitting the market a little over a year ago,’s products have been adopted by over 100,000 people. With those who fill in the SELF Journal (their flagship product) first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. Whether it’s for personal, professional, or health reasons the SELF Journal is helping people achieve their goals 13-Weeks at a time. It’s not all achievement though, the products have also proven successful for those suffering from depression, chronic pain, and even personal tragedy. One interaction at a time, one action at a time works hard everyday to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

Sand Cloud, is a San Diego-based company with a powerful purpose: to save marine life. Partnering with organizations that are stewards of the ocean, Sand Cloud donates 10 percent of its net profits from the sale of towels with colorful designs to organizations that help protect and preserve beaches, oceans, and marine life. As their business grows, so does the giving. Company sales grew from $30,000 in 2014, the year it launched, to $2.5 million in 2016.

LIVELY was built initially to deliver what founder Michelle Cordeiro Grant always thought was missing from the lingerie category- a brand that delivered on what it means to be sexy today... smart, healthy, outgoing and confident. Grant identified a void in the market for bras and undies with an aesthetic inspired by authenticity and "real life". The goal was to create something that women could live in for 14 hours day, and not have to choose between HIGH STYLE and ULTIMATE COMFORT. With this, LIVELY has established an entirely new category and POV of lingerie, a movement they call Leisurée. Beyond product, LIVELY set out to create a community first and foremost.  One that would enable, empower, and remind women what life is truly about. Doing what you love with the people you love. LIVELY’s mission is to drive women around the world to live life passionately, purposefully and confidently. This is what they call, #livingLIVELY.

Founded in 2015, Kindred Bravely is a collection of luxury maternity and nursing wear that enables moms to transition from the bump to the breast and beyond. Pregnancy and motherhood can be hard, finding comfortable, stylish clothing doesn’t have to be. Created by Deeanne Akerson, Kindred Bravely provides bras, underwear, and sleepwear to make life more comfortable for new and soon-to-be new moms.

For more details on this year’s Build a BIGGER Business winners, visit For more information on Build a BIGGER Business Competition, visit

About Shopify

Shopify is the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses. Merchants can use the software to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, 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. The Shopify platform was engineered for reliability and scale, making enterprise-level technology available to businesses of all sizes. Shopify currently powers over 500,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries and is trusted by brands such as Red Bull, Nestle, GE, Kylie Cosmetics, and many more.

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