Yesterday was a huge day for the Canadian tech scene with Shopify‘s long-awaited IPO finally happening. In its first day of trading the company that began as Tobi’s little rails app gained 51% in market value and is now worth approx. ~ $1.8B.
Having been involved in the Canadian startup scene since the 90s the big thing for me here is that there are no more limits. It was accepted wisdom for many years that we just couldn’t build big technology leaders here in Canada. Yes, we had some exceptions (Blackberry, Nortel, etc.). But by and large our tech companies have been smaller and sold early.
Shopify is the first of several anticipated Canadian tech IPOs. Hootsuite is hinting at going out soon. Point Click Care is ready too. When I first entered this industry, Canadian tech IPOs were thriving. An investment bank that is no longer (Yorkton Securities) was leading the way. I look forward to that day returning soon.
Finally, going back to Shopify. I remember when I first walked into their offices. At the time they all fit on two rooms above a coffee shop or something. From those humble beginnings with the odds against them (no one would have said you could find so many great people to hire in Ottawa) they have done amazing things, and are still just getting started.
I hope this inspires all of us to go big and put the Canadian tech scene back on the global map where it belongs!