OTTAWA, ONTARIO— July 8, 2014— Shopify, the leading commerce platform that lets anyone sell online, in-store, and everywhere in between, has announced the winners of its fourth annual Build a Business Competition. Over eight months, more than 21,000 entrepreneurs created new online businesses that sold over $120 million in products.
The competition ran from October 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014, with grand prizes awarded to shops with the highest sales over a two-month period. Each of the 10 winners will receive $50,000 and a VIP trip to New York City to meet with industry experts who will serve as their mentors. In addition to the money and trip, winners will also receive a complete Shopify Point-Of-Sale package.
Shopify partnered with Daymond John (Fashion & Apparel), Tim Ferriss (Electronics & Gadgets), Chase Jarvis (Photography & Art), Tina Roth Eisenberg (Jewelry & Crafts), Mark Cuban (Sports & Recreation), Gary Vaynerchuk (Food & Beverage), Selita Ebanks (Health & Beauty), Lil Jon (Music), Arianna Huffington (Everything Else) and Amber Mac (Canadian mentor) to be mentors.
“Since its inception four years ago, Shopify’s Build a Business Competition has kickstarted businesses that now sell millions of dollars’ worth of products every year,” said Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s Chief Platform Officer. “We’re extremely excited about this year’s winners. They prove that the product doesn’t matter-whether it’s headbands, juice, or drones-all you need is one great idea to start selling.”
Here is a summary of the 10 winning stores, their innovative products, and the entrepreneurs themselves:
Tatsup (Photography & Art) – Kevin Mack is an ex-motocross-racer based in Australia. After suffering a career-ending injury he set up an online business that quickly delivers supplies to tattoo artists in the region.
Polar Pen (Canadian Winner) – Andrew Gardner, an industrial designer, had an idea for a fully magnetized pen. With the hopes of raising $14,000 to create 2,000 pens on Kickstarter, he ended up raising $800,000 for 20,000 pens, which are now sold in 90 countries around the world.
MVMT Watches (Jewelry & Crafts) – Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante created a watch that can be worn in both professional and casual settings – without the big bill. They raised over $220,000 on Indiegogo which at the time was the second highest campaign in the fashion and apparel industry.
Drones Etc. (Everything Else) – After three failed attempts to launch a business, high school friends Shawn Rowland and Jonathan Baird found that the fourth time was the charm for selling drones.
Zoom Hash (Electronics & Gadgets) – With the rise of currencies like Bitcoin came a huge market demand for reliable sellers of cryptocurrency mining hardware. Michael Cao launched Zoom Hash to sell electronic cables and graphic-processing units specifically for the industry.
The WOD Life (Sports & Recreation) – Andy Lee turned his love of training into a successful online community for CrossFit athletes in Australia. The WOD Life sells the best products available to support the CrossFit lifestyle.
Output (Music) – Los Angeles-based sound studio, led by music composer Gregg Lerhman, createdREV – the world’s first collection of virtual instruments that can be played in reverse, in real-time.
Orchard Flats (Food & Beverage) – Evan Seals and Curtis Nysmith founded Orchard Flats, a cold-pressed juice company focused on making juices that are healthy and delicious. They used ShopifyPOS to sell juice from their shops in California.
Bolder Bands (Fashion & Apparel) – Amy Crouse, a stay-at-home mom who loves to run, developed a moisture-wicking headband perfect for workouts.
EZ Lite Cruiser (Health & Beauty) – Maciej Szkodzinski and Pio Jang loved the EZ Lite Cruiser the minute they first tested it. Now they’ve built a success business around selling the light-weight, low-cost, foldable motorized wheelchair.