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.”

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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.

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