That's rich: Shopify's Lütke Canada's second-wealthiest person, Forbes says

Tobi and Fiona
Shopify co-founder Tobi Lütke, shown with his wife Fiona McKean, is Canada's second-richest person with a fortune of more than US$10 billion, according to Forbes. File photo

As his company surged ahead of RBC to become Canada’s most valuable publicly traded firm in 2020, Shopify co-founder Tobi Lütke’s net worth experienced some hockey-stick-like growth of its own.

The CEO of the Ottawa-based e-commerce darling is now Canada’s second-richest person, according to Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s wealthiest people.

As of Friday afternoon, Lütke, 40, has a net worth of US$10.6 billion, Forbes says in its real-time tracking of the world’s billionaires. That’s up from US$3 billion a year ago, putting him No. 2 on the list of wealthiest Canadians behind David Thomson, chairman of media company Thomson Reuters Corp., who is still the runaway leader with a net worth of US$43.3 billion as of Friday afternoon.

Lütke, who owns almost seven per cent of Shopify’s stock, saw his personal fortune skyrocket as the company’s shares have ballooned 164 per cent during the pandemic-fuelled online shopping boom. The native of Germany, who co-founded Shopify in 2006, now sits at No. 232 in Forbes’ world billionaires list.

Lütke isn’t the only Ottawa entrepreneur to crack the exclusive rankings: Mitel founder Terry Matthews and Claridge Homes CEO Bill Malhotra are also members of the billionaires’ club.

Matthews and Malhotra also make list

Matthews, 77, ranks No. 2,141 on the list with a net worth of US$1.4 billion, up from US$1.3 billion in 2020. The native of Wales is best known for launching telecom powerhouse Mitel with Michael Cowpland in early 1970s and founding data networking enterprise Newbridge Networks in 1986 before selling it to Alcatel for US$7.1 billion in 2000.

Matthews, who has founded or funded more than 100 companies, continues to be an active player in the Canadian tech scene through his Ottawa-based Wesley Clover investment firm. He also owns Celtic Manor Resort, a golf, spa and hotel complex in his hometown of Newport, Wales, that hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup and 2014 NATO summit.

Malhotra, 71, comes in at No. 2,378 on Forbes’ list with a fortune of US$1.2 billion. 

It’s the first appearance on the list for the native of India, who moved to Canada in 1971 and was the City of Ottawa’s chief structural engineer before founding real estate development firm Claridge Homes in 1986. 

The company has since built more than 14,000 homes, including houses, condos and retirement residences, and is now one of the largest developers in the National Capital Region.