Shopify Mafia members share business success stories
- Shopify encourages entrepreneurship among its employees.
- Many employees leave the company to start their own businesses.
- We’ve spoken to over 30 of them. Read their stories here.
As a self-proclaimed “entrepreneurial company,” Shopify builds and provides tools for nearly 2 million merchants to manage their online stores. The company often highlights merchants’ success stories on the company’s blog and on earnings calls.
But Shopify’s messages about entrepreneurship extend to its employees, too. Company leaders encourage employees to start their own businesses in addition to their day jobs, host internal business competitions and allow employees to allocate up to $1,000 in business-related costs annually.
Even Shopify’s president, Harley Finkelstein, has a side hustle: He runs the Shopify-backed Firebelly Tea brand with David Segal, founder of DavidsTea. Finkelstein previously told Insider that having a side hustle helps him better understand the Shopify product and empathize with the platform’s merchant base.
“I talk a lot about the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur in my role at Shopify,” he said. “Firebelly allows me to experience it for myself.”
Other corporate leaders own their own Shopify stores as well, such as Atlee Clark, Shop’s COO and co-founder of children’s and women’s apparel brand Pika Layers.
“We’ve been saying for a long time that Shopify is an entrepreneurial company, built by entrepreneurs,” a Shopify spokesperson previously told Insider. “We encourage an entrepreneurial spirit internally and encourage our employees to pursue their interests and side projects.”
Insider profiled dozens of Shopify employees who became entrepreneurs. Read their stories below:
Founder of “Shopify Mafia” talks about how he built his brand while working full time: “Shopify is the only company in the world where you can have a multimillion dollar side hustle”
Greg MacDonald already had a Shopify store when he joined the e-commerce company as a successful merchant manager in 2016. But his brand of bath products, Bathorium, has grown exponentially during his five years at the company.
In the end, the store was successful enough for Macdonald to ditch the e-commerce giant and run Bathorium full time. He told Insider about his experience running a “million dollar side hustle” while still working at Shopify.
Shopify encourages its employees to launch stores as a side hustle. This entrepreneur quit the company to run his shop full time and now generates about $30,000 in monthly sales.
Daniel Patricio was on the Shopify product team when he launched Bull and Cleaver, a Shopify store that sells South African beef jerky product Biltong, in 2015.
But the side hustle eventually grew bigger than Patricio expected, and he quit his job at Shopify to work at Bull and Cleaver full time. Share the story behind his biltong brand with Insider.
This Shopify Mafia has invested $2.3 million in women-led startups. Two partners share what they are looking to invest in next.
In the spring of 2021, Shopify launched 10 employees — some current and some former — Backbone Angels, an angel investment group focused on funding women-founded startups, especially women of color.
A year later, they invested more than $2 million in new startups. They outline some of their investment priorities in interviews with Insider.
Meet the 34 Shopify Mafia members who embraced the e-commerce giant’s entrepreneurial spirit and launched their own businesses
Several Shopify employees have left the company to pursue entrepreneurship full time. Insider interviewed more than 30 of them, including Michael Berry, who left Shopify to build parenting software startup Maple, and Erin Chan, who co-founded rental marketing platform Rhenti after years as a product manager at Shopify.
Many alumni have gone on to build software intended to help engineers simplify programming, such as Harry Brundage and Muhammad Hashemi, who co-founded Gadget, and Ken Rose, who co-founded OpsLevel.
Others doubled the DTC and launched their own Shopify stores.