Ottawa’s Shopify Announces Winners of $500,000 ‘Build-A-Business’ Competition

Ottawa-based ecommerce software startup Shopify today announced the winner of its “Build-A-Business Competition.” Over 3,000 entrepreneurs created online stores last year in an effort to seize the vast opportunities of e-commerce—and compete for $500,000 in cash and prizes.

Combined, the businesses generated more than $12 million in sales during the eight-month competition. Coffe Joulies, which sells polished stainless steel beans that regulate the temperature of coffee, was the grand prize winner of $100,000, plus VIP trips to New York City and San Francisco to meet Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Timothy Ferriss. CJ used Kickstarter to crowdsource funding. Seeking less than $10,000, the startup winded up raising over $300,000 from nearly $5,000 backers.

“I spent one evening building our online store on Shopify. We were accepting orders the next day and quickly sold out. Using Shopify for ecommerce eliminated most of the tedious parts associated with starting a business,” said Dave Petrillo, a mechanical engineer from New Jersey who co-founded Joulies.

“The only thing we have to focus on is our brand, our products, and our customers—the way it should be. We know if we build our brand slowly and carefully, we can make Coffee Joulies a million dollar business by the end of the year,” said Dave Petrillo, the other co-founder.

Other cash and prize winners include TattlyOpena CaseFlockStocksNeuYearMyFootyBootsSimply Hops, and Clearpath Robotics.