Founder to CEO: Tobias Lutke, Shopify

For my second installment of the Founder to CEO series, I’m very pleased to share my conversations with Tobi from Shopify.

I have had the pleasure of working with Tobi and the Shopify team in the past. They are building a truly special, market-leading company. Tobi comes to Canada from Germany. Before co-founding Shopify, Tobi was active in many open source projects. The best known of which is the Ruby on Rails framework where Tobi served as a core team member.

As you will learn from this post, Tobi is probably the most brilliant high school dropout you will ever meet.

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From Founder to CEO

When I decided to become a VC in 2010 I had lots of reservations. After all most VC funds don’t succeed. The Canadian VC industry in particular has not historically delivered returns (though there are some great new funds backing great companies – so hopefully that’s changing). In any event, history reveals that my tenure as a VC was short-lived. Still, during my brief time there, I began working on an investment thesis that I still believe can result in superior VC returns.

Some VCs, such as Foundry Group are theme-driven. Union Square also focuses more or less on a singular theme – large networks of engaged users. Other VCs look at markets more broadly and try and predict where they’re headed. Others still look at underlying technologies and invest in those waiting for a market use case to emerge.

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