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The 5 startups Shopify has invested in this year show how serious the platform is about winning over small and medium-sized businesses

Shopify employee works at company headquarters in Ottawa
Shopify has invested in a string of e-commerce startups.
REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

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  • Shopify has made a string of startup investments so far in 2021.
  • Its VC funding has focused on startups building tools for small and medium-sized businesses.
  • This funding is in line with Shopify's goal of making e-commerce more accessible.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Shopify has recently made a string of investments in e-commerce startups aimed at empowering small and medium-sized businesses. 

So far in 2021, the Canadian e-commerce giant has helped fund a startup that helps Shopify merchants build mobile apps, as well as a bookkeeping service, a same-day delivery provider, a maker of a startup-friendly financing product, and a startup focused on customer acquisition. 

Investing in tools that help small and medium-sized businesses fits in well with Shopify's overall mission of helping those businesses succeed. Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff noted that Shopify's customer base is "overwhelmingly" made up of those entrepreneurs.

"The more Shopify can ultimately offer to their SMB (small and medium business) customer base, the greater chance of success these customers will have. The VC investments Shopify has been making are focused on companies servicing the SMB community and represent a step towards these goals of growing the ecosystem and having more solutions available for Shopify customers," Romanoff said.

In addition to its investments in smaller startups, Shopify made lucrative partnerships with Global-E and Affirm before both went public this year. Both companies are in Shopify's network — Global-E powers cross-border transactions for Shopify, while Affirm is Shopify's exclusive provider of "buy-now-pay-later" services. 

Shopify also has a history of acquiring e-commerce startups and integrating its services into its platform, ultimately making it more appealing to potential customers. On June 11, for example, it acquired immersive shopping app Primer. It is not uncommon for companies to eventually acquire startups that they have invested in.

"We invest in companies and technologies in our ecosystem that align with our mission and whose success at scale could positively impact our merchants," a Shopify spokesperson said. 

Here are the startups that Shopify has invested in so far this year:

Tapcart 

tapcart app screenshot
Tapcart

Tapcart, a startup that helps Shopify-powered businesses to launch their own mobile apps, announced a $50 million Series B on June 28. Shopify participated in the round. 

Tapcart's codeless app builder is being used by "thousands" of Shopify merchants, the company said in a press release.

"We believe brands must be where their customers are, and today that means being on their phones," Satish Kanwar, vice president of product acceleration at Shopify, said in the press release. "Tapcart helps merchants create mobile-first shopping experiences that customers love, reinforcing Shopify's mission to make commerce better for everyone."

Co-op

Co-op is a startup focused on helping merchants acquire new customers without Amazon, Facebook, or Google. It integrates with storefronts that were built with a variety of platforms, including Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce.

Shopify participated in the startup's $5.8 million seed round in June. 

"We're excited to participate in co-op's seed round as they work to solve a critical challenge for businesses today: discovery. Helping merchants drive sales to each other is not only positive for the community, but for consumers who are increasingly looking to support independent brands," Bram Sugarman, director of corporate development and strategic partnerships at Shopify, said in a press release.

Bench

Bench, which makes bookkeeping services for small businesses, announced a $60 million Series C on June 3, with Shopify contributing funding. 

"At Shopify, we're always looking for ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and run their businesses," Sugarman said in a press release. "That's why we're thrilled to participate in Bench's recent round of funding, which will help them provide professional bookkeeping to even more entrepreneurs so that they can focus on growing and serving their customers."

Swyft

Swyft is a startup that helps retailers offer same-day delivery by matching them with logistics providers in a marketplace.

It raised a $17.5 million Series A in April, led by Inovia Capital and Forerunner Ventures and with participation by Shopify, Golden Ventures, and Trucks VC, TechCrunch reported.

Pipe

Pipe announced a $50 million round of strategic equity financing in March, with Shopify joining the investment along with Slack , HubSpot, and Okta, among others. The startup operates a trading platform that allows companies to turn recurring revenues into upfront capital. 

"Pipe provides non-dilutive, founder-friendly financing, which is critical to creating more successful entrepreneurs in the future, and both Pipe and Shopify are deeply aligned toward that mission," Brandon Chu, vice president of product at Shopify, said in a press release.

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