The Rare and Elusive Canadian Unicorn

By Paul Teshima in Nudge News

Everyone is talking about Shopify and Hootsuite, the elusive unicorns of our Canadian startup community.

A “unicorn” in the tech industry refers to a startup company with a valuation of close to, or over $1 billion dollars.

Fortune magazine has listed over 80 unicorns globally with at least eight of them being “decacorns” (having a valuation over the $10 billion mark). The seemingly elusive creature you’ve only heard about, but have never seen, is becoming far less mythical with a powerful market to back disruptive technologies.

Shopify was founded in Canada’s capital in 2004 by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinand and Scott Lake. The founders created the software after reportedly being displeased with the existing e-commerce products while trying to develop their online snowboarding equipment store, Snowdevil. Lutke used Ruby on Rails to fully build out Snowdevil’s online store then launched the platform as Shopify only two years later.

Shopify was named Ottawa’s fastest growing company in 2010 and today has over 150,000 users. After only 3 rounds of funding they were able to raise an impressive $122 million dollars and filed for an IPO earlier last month. It is no wonder they have recently had a valuation of close to the billion dollar mark and are on everyone’s unicorn watch list.

Hootsuite also makes the cut, valued at $1 billion dollars after being incorporated less than seven years ago. The social media and brand management tool developed by Ryan Holmes allows companies to seamlessly integrate multiple systems for quick and simple content output.

Based in Vancouver, Hootsuite has several offices worldwide, with over 10 million users and 744 of the Fortune 1000 companies. After 6 rounds of funding, Hootsuite managed to raise just over $249 million making it a shoo-in for the unicorn list.

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Paul Teshima
CEO and Co-founder