The e-commerce platform provider’s stock market debut signals good news and more billion-dollar IPOs for Canada’s tech sector.

(Bloomberg)—Shopify Inc.’s almost $2 billion stock market debut is the first of a wave of Canadian technology companies about to win billion-dollar valuations on public markets, according to venture capital firm Difference Capital Financial Inc.

“I think we have a dozen companies in Canada that can see a clear line of sight to a billion dollar-plus valuation over the next few years,” Tom Liston, managing partner at Difference Capital said at the Bloomberg Economic Series Canada conference in Toronto. “In the 15 years that I’ve covered tech, we’ve never had the breadth of names of this quality.”

Shopify Inc., an Ottawa-based software company that helps merchants set up online stores, climbed 51% in its trading debut in New York, bringing its market value to $1.9 billion. That’s up from the $17 IPO price that suggested a market value of $1.27 billion.

Shopify is the e-commerce platform provider for eight Top 1000 e-retailers, including eForCity Corp., an electronics accessories e-retailer and No. 353 in the Internet Retailer 2105 Top 500 Guide, and online apparel retailer BHFO (No. 462).

D2L Corp., which makes education software, and WP Technology Inc., a story-sharing website known as Wattpad, are two other Canadian tech firms which have attracted millions in private funding from U.S. venture firms.


The founders of both firms said that while they don’t have immediate plans for their own IPOs, Shopify’s success is an example that shows they can pursue that route to grow their businesses in Canada rather than selling them.

“It does a lot to help with the confidence,” said John Baker, chief executive officer of D2L. “They’re leading the path for other young entrepreneurs that are building these tech companies.”