Shopify announces “Build-a-Business” winners

A former motocross racer from Australia, a Los Angeles-based music composer and a Colorado stay-at-home mom who loves to run are among the winners of Shopify’s fourth “Build-A-Business Competition,” the company announced Tuesday.

Between Oct.1 of last year and May 31, the Ottawa e-commerce firm said, more than 21,000 entrepreneurs created new online businesses using the Shopify platform, selling more than $120 million in products.

"Since its inception four years ago, Shopify's Build-A-Business competition has kickstarted businesses that now sell millions of dollars' worth of products every year," said Harley Finkelstein, Shopify's chief platform officer. "We're extremely excited about this year's winners.”

Grand prizes have been awarded to shops with the highest sales over a two-month period.  Each of the 10 winners gets $50,000 and a trip to New York to meet with industry experts who will mentor them. They will also get a complete Shopify point-of-sale package.

This year’s winners:

Tatsup (Photography & Art) – Kevin Mack is an ex-motocross-racer based in Australia. After suffering a career-ending injury he set up an online business that quickly delivers supplies to tattoo artists in the region.

Polar Pen (Canadian Winner) – Andrew Gardner, an industrial designer, had an idea for a fully magnetized pen. With the hope of raising $14,000 to create 2,000 pens on Kickstarter, he ended up raising $400,000 for 20,000 pens, which are now sold in 90 countries around the world.

MVMT Watches (Jewelry & Crafts) – Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante created a watch that can be worn in both professional and casual settings – without the big bill. They raised over $220,000 on Indiegogo, which at the time was the second-highest campaign total in the fashion and apparel industry.

Drones Etc. (Everything Else) – After three failed attempts to launch a business, high school friends Shawn Rowland and Jonathan Baird found that the fourth time was the charm for selling drones.

Zoom Hash (Electronics & Gadgets) – With the rise of currencies like Bitcoin came a huge market demand for reliable sellers of cryptocurrency mining hardware. Michael Cao launched Zoom Hash to sell electronic cables and graphic-processing units specifically for the industry.

The WOD Life (Sports & Recreation) – Andy Lee turned his love of training into a successful online community for CrossFit athletes in Australia. The WOD Life sells products to support the CrossFit lifestyle.

Output Sounds (Music) – The Los Angeles-based sound studio, led by music composer Gregg Lerhman, created REV – the world's first collection of virtual instruments that can be played in reverse, in real-time.

Orchard Flats (Food & Beverage) – Evan Seals and Curtis Nysmith founded Orchard Flats, a cold-pressed juice company focused on making juices that are healthy and delicious. They used Shopify POS to sell juice from their shops in California.

Bolder Bands (Fashion & Apparel) – Amy Crouse, a stay-at-home mom who loves to run, developed a moisture-wicking headband perfect for workouts.

EZ Lite Cruiser (Health & Beauty) – Maciej Szkodzinski and Pio Jang loved the EZ Lite Cruiser the minute they first tested it. Now they've built a successful business around selling the lightweight, low-cost, foldable motorized wheelchair.