Toronto based startup success story Shopify has acquired Jet Cooper, a Toronto-based design agency founded in 2009, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition brings together the Ottawa-based Shopify, which launched around seven years ago with the aim of making online stores better design and usability, together with Jet Cooper, which has emerged as one of Canada’s top user experience and design firms.
Jet Cooper’s reputation is well-earned, and has garnered it work from some top-tier clients including Cineplex, TEDxToronto, Telus, Kick and more. The company will be fulfilling its existing contracts and obligations, and helping transition current clients to outside agencies for continued support, but it will be folded into Shopify completely as part of the deal, and will focus all of its resources on expanding Shopify’s Toronto presence and fuelling continued evolution of the online shopping space.
I spoke to Tobi Lütke, Shopify’s founder and CEO about the deal, and he said that it was one of those situations where you work with a company and keep running into them, and then someone suggests combining forces and it just makes a ton of sense. Their goals were aligned, and the talent Jet Cooper represented was too good a package to pass up.
“In the next couple of months we’re going to start announcing a bunch of new stuff, and the team will really help with those initiatives,” he said. But the acquisition, which brings all of the Jet Cooper team over to Shopify and puts Jet Cooper CEO Satish Kanwar in charge of the Toronto office as Director of Operations.
Design-focused talent acqui-hires are not quite as common as their engineering-focused equivalent, but companies like Facebook regularly pick up small agencies in moves like this one to boost their chops and inject some outside innovation into their in-house design team. Shopify is no startup anymore, with 60,000 stores among its clients that have processed 35 million orders and resulted in $2 billion in online sales. Grabbing Jet Cooper, which is a Canadian powerhouse in terms of talented team members, should help them continue to differentiate as more startup players challenge their established position.