Tech in T.O.: Why Shopify continues to grow in Toronto

Click to play video: 'Shopify continues to grow amid Toronto’s evolving tech scene'
Shopify continues to grow amid Toronto’s evolving tech scene
WATCH ABOVE: Shopify, an e-commerce company founded in Canada, has announced plans to expand in Toronto – Sep 24, 2019

This is the first of a 10-part series on Toronto’s technology community

Canadian-born company Shopify has become a leader in e-commerce and as it continues to grow, the company is choosing to invest in Toronto.

“Toronto is just one of North America’s fastest growing cities,” said Satish Kanwar, vice-president and general manager of channels at Shopify Inc.

“I think people love and benefit from the culture and type of diversity that we have here while being able to create this global impact and it’s not in a place where Toronto is just where global companies are doing small projects. We have large global technology companies built in Toronto, expanding all over the world, and you can do that without leaving home.”

READ MORE: Shopify to spend up to $500 million on Toronto development

As part of #TechInTO, Global News anchor Farah Nasser spoke with leaders in Toronto’s technology industry and Kanwar said the success Toronto has seen in the technology has been growing steadily over the last decade.

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“Toronto’s overnight success in tech has been 10 years in the making already. We’ve invested in community organizations, academic institutions, and really ventured capital that is growing this next generation of companies,” Kanwar said.

“It’s the decisions that we’re making today that are going to impact where Toronto goes in 10 years and that’s why the investments have to be attracting more global talent and more capital into homegrown companies and really keeping more people here working in Canada for Canadian companies, and that’s why it is so important for us to invest here.

“We want Canadians to stay local and to invest in the future of all our economic success.”

WATCH: Satish Kanwar explains what is drawing tech talent to Toronto

Click to play video: 'Satish Kanwar explains what is drawing tech talent to Toronto'
Satish Kanwar explains what is drawing tech talent to Toronto

The company was founded in 2004 by Tobias Lütke, a computer programmer who was unsatisfied with existing e-commerce products. The company said it now features more than 800,000 businesses world-wide.

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“You’ll see everything from larger international carriers like Nestle and [Procter & Gamble Co.] to the large influencers like the OVO brand and Kylie Cosmetics — all of which run and use Shopify,” said Kanwar.

According to Shopify statistics, the company employs more than 4,000 people in over 15 offices around the world.

In September 2018, the Ottawa-based e-commerce company announced it would be investing up to $500 million for a downtown Toronto development — more than doubling the company’s footprint in the city.

READ MORE: E-commerce giant Shopify bans sale of some firearms and accessories

“We’re investing $500 million to grow our presence here in Toronto, which is going to real estate, talent and community,” said Kanwar.

“It’s important to us that we’re making a well-rounded investment that lets us bring talent together and of course have enough square footage and real estate to house them, but also to train up talent and make them a part of what’s growing the rest of the city. So we’re partnering with academic institutions like York University to build up an innovative development degree program all the way to the community organizations like Artscape and Digital Mainstream and start of Open House so we can really cultivate that next generation.

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“Toronto is just having such a special moment in technology. Shopify opened offices here six years ago and we’ve seen such a wealth amount of talent and diverse talent from around the world join us … that incredible growth that we’ve had here has created that confidence for us to continue investing and really building up the future of Shopify in Toronto.”

Learn more about #TechInTO and share your ideas using the hashtag #TechInTO.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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