Shopify Expands to 300 Employees in Waterloo Tech Hub

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Citing the “amazing talent pool” in Waterloo Region, Shopify is undertaking an ambitious expansion of its local operations, including a 300-employee office in the former Seagram Museum/CIGI building in Waterloo’s core.

The new facility, to be occupied in April 2016, will enable a tenfold increase in the local footprint of the Ottawa-based e-commerce giant, which currently employs 30 at a sales lab that opened about a year ago in Kitchener’s Lang Tannery.

Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke made the trip to Waterloo Region for a series of public appearances today, and was warmly welcomed at his first stop, the University of Waterloo, where he was interviewed onstage by Vidyard CEO Michael Litt.

“We’ve hired a lot of co-op students who have just been incredible and immediately become a part of the team as soon as they join,” Lütke said of the university’s formidable talent pipeline. “So why Waterloo? Why not? It was like, ‘what took us so long, really?’”

Lütke provoked a big round of laughs – and further endeared himself to his audience – when he spoke of the region’s growing reputation in Silicon Valley: “. . . I used to go to the Valley a lot, to get financing and things like this. People would say to me: ‘It must be so great to be in Canada because you’re like, next to Waterloo.’”

Regarding Canada in general, the German-born, 35-year-old CEO called the country “an amazing place to build the kind of companies we’re building. There’s enormous loyalty, hard work, an incredibly deep talent pool, and plain optimism. I don’t think you can build a company like Shopify or Vidyard or anything else with a pessimistic crowd.”

With about 800 employees split among Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Waterloo Region, Shopify has become Canada’s hottest technology company, with a market capitalization of $2.8 billion. That’s more than double its value at the time of its initial public offering of shares just over four months ago.

Read the rest of this article on Communitech.

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