OTTAWA, ONTARIO — Feb. 29, 2012 – Shopify, the leading ecommerce platform used to create and power online stores, today announced the winner of its Build a Business Competition, that is awarding a total of $500,000 in prizes and giveaways. Over 3,000 entrepreneurs created new online stores that sold over $12 million in products during the eight month competition period. The grand prize is awarded to Coffee Joulies, an innovative startup that crowd-sourced funding on Kickstarter and built their ecommerce store on Shopify.
Coffee Joulies are polished stainless steel beans that regulate the temperature of coffee. The product was developed by Dave Jackson and Dave Petrillo, two mechanical engineers from New Jersey. They went on Kickstarter to crowd-source their funding with a goal of $9,500 and ended up raising $306,944 with 4,818 backers.
“I spent one evening building our online store on Shopify. We were accepting orders the next day and quickly sold out. Using Shopify for ecommerce eliminated most of the tedious parts associated with starting a business," said Petrillo. “The only thing we have to focus on is our brand, our products, and our customers – the way it should be. We know if we build our brand slowly and carefully, we can make Coffee Joulies a million dollar business by the end of the year,” said Jackson.
Coffee Joulies wins Shopify’s grand prize of $100,000 cash, along with VIP trips to New York City and San Francisco to meet Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Timothy Ferriss. These meetings are intended to provide the winners with high-end business and marketing advice to further grow their company.
In addition to the grand prize, Shopify is awarding a total of $150,000 cash and $60,000 in Google AdWords credits to the following industry and regional category winners:
Tattly: Tina Roth Eisenberg was frustrated that children’s rub-on tattoos were often poorly designed. Tina (aka Swiss Miss), opened her own temporary tattoo online store featuring art by famous designers.
Opena Case: Rob Ward and Chris Peters solved a dilemma of epic proportions, having a cold beer but no way of opening it. What’s the one thing you always have on you? Your phone. Solution: an iPhone bottle opener.
FlockStocks: Sophie Kovic was working at a local movie theatre until she read Tim Ferriss’ book “The 4-Hour Workweek.” She followed his step-by-step business plan and created a feather hair extension online store. Her feathers are selling all around the world.
NeuYear: Jesse Phillips was disillusioned with his computer science degree and became determined to save himself from a life working in a cubicle. He semi-quit his day job and developed an artistic one-year calendar poster.
MyFootyBoots: Brad Jorgensen was tired of overpriced soccer cleats in his home country, Australia. He found suppliers and opened an online store offering fair prices.
Simply Hops: Small batch beer makers often have difficulty finding a variety of quality hops available for purchase in small quantities. Simply Hops was developed to cater to craft brewers that don’t want to make expensive bulk purchases.
Clearpath Robotics: Matthew Randall and four other mechanical engineers from the University of Waterloo created an open-source and fully customizable robot called TurtleBot. It’s currently the most powerful and capable entry-level robot in the world.
This is Shopify’s second Build a Business Competition, the first of which DODOcase took home the $100,000 grand prize. “This years competition exceeded all our expectations and we couldn’t be happier with the results. We are blown away by the quality of all 3,060 online stores that were created to compete, and I can’t wait to start writing checks for the winners,” said Tobias Lütke, Founder and CEO of Shopify.