Late last year Ottawa’s Shopify announced that they were teaming up with Tim Ferriss of 4-Hour Workweek fame to run a pretty cool contest with a very large prize. $100K to the entrepreneur who’s NEW online store has the most revenue for two consecutive months.
The store that achieved the highest revenue total during any two consecutive months from January to June using Shopify’s e-commerce platform to sell its wares was San Francisco-based DODOcase, makers of protective cases for the Apple iPad that have the look and feel of a hardcover notebook.
DODOcase was founded by serial entrepreneurs who met while training for the 1996 Ironman Canada triathlon: Patrick Buckley, the chief executive, and Craig Dalton, the president and business development director.
Buckley, a 2008 Y Combinator entrepreneur, founded the search applications company WebMynd and is a co-author of The Hungry Scientist Handbook. Dalton, a former competitive mountain bike racer, was a founding team member of several mobile technology start-ups (including Proteus) and created a niche, sporting goods company, BooCooGear.
Buckley designed the original DODOcase, consulting with traditional bookbinders whom he later hired to make the cases in San Francisco. The cases are made with bamboo and other natural materials, and can double as iPad stands.
To encourage early, positive buzz among Apple iPad buyers, Dalton hired street teams via Craigslist to “hang out with Apple fanboys, while they waited on line for hours, maybe even days, outside of Apple retail stores for a chance to buy the first edition iPad.”
The company, which plans to continue manufacturing its product and creating jobs in San Francisco, received more than 10,000 orders within a few months of the iPad’s debut. It sells exclusively online for now but is entertaining other options.
Shopify’s chief executive, Tobias Lütke said DODOcase’s founders impressed him beyond the numbers: “They’ve started a successful business, but they’ve also started to save an industry — traditional bookbinding — in San Francisco that was on the brink of total extinction.” The bookbindery that provides DODOcase with design consulting and case-making services has been able to hire 12 full-time employees as a result of the DODOcase business, Mr. Buckley said.
About 1,400 companies started web stores using Shopify in hopes of winning the $100,000 prize. According to Shopify’s marketing vice president, Dimitri Onistsuk, five hundred of these are currently running revenue-generating businesses,