Written by
Anthony Reinhart

Oct 19, 2017

Shopify to triple Waterloo workforce in major expansion

Oct 19, 2017 • by Anthony Reinhart

Shopify is doubling down – make that tripling down – on Waterloo.

The fast-growing e-commerce platform, headquartered in Ottawa, announced today that it plans to add 300 to 500 new jobs to its Waterloo operation over the next two to three years. This would amount to a tripling of its workforce in what it calls “the cornerstone of Canada’s technology corridor.”

The addition of so many jobs means Shopify will soon occupy a second building in uptown Waterloo, at 85 Willis Way, a stone’s throw from its current office in the former Seagram Museum at Erb and Caroline streets. The brand-new, 85,000-square-foot building sits directly across the street from the Waterloo Town Square shopping centre, and next to Waterloo Region’s soon-to-launch light-rail transit line.

“We initially chose to build Shopify’s presence in Waterloo because we knew we would be supported by the tech community in the region,” said Loren Padelford, General Manager and Vice-President of Shopify Plus. “With that support, along with world-class local talent, our growth has outpaced our expectations and projections. By continuing to invest in the region, we are helping build a stronger ecosystem, one that employs great local people, and also brings new talent to the region.”

The new jobs will aid in the growth of Shopify Plus, the area of the company that provides e-commerce products and services to Shopify’s largest and most complex customers, which include GE, Kylie Cosmetics, Nestlé and Red Bull. Shopify Plus has more than 2,500 merchants on its platform, with per-merchant revenues ranging from $1 million to more than $500 million annually.

Positions will range from entry level to senior management and cover engineering, product, user experience, sales and merchant services.

“Our top priority at Shopify is to support the continued growth of our merchants by making some of the most complex parts of running their business simple and easy,” Padelford said. “For us to do that, we need to hire great people.”

Padelford also gave a nod to the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor, saying that it “is anchoring the next great wave of technology, and we’re excited to play a big role in providing talent a home in our community.”

Founded in 2004, Shopify’s cloud-based platform now powers more than 500,000 businesses in an estimated 175 countries. 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 company, which went public in the spring of 2015, has offices in five locations in North America. Its Waterloo Region presence had modest beginnings in late 2014, when it opened a small office in the Tannery, adjacent to the Communitech Hub. A small team led by Padelford quickly grew to the point where a larger space was necessary, and in October 2015, an ambitious local expansion was announced by co-founder and CEO Tobi Lütke during a visit to Waterloo Region.

In October of 2016, Shopify acquired Boltmade, a Waterloo-based product design consultancy, and moved its team into its then-new Waterloo offices in the historic former Seagram Museum.

The addition of the new space on nearby Willis Way will nearly double the company’s Waterloo footprint. It is expected to open during the first quarter of 2018.