R|T: The Retail Times – Shopify posts surprise Q1 loss, Lululemon under “greenwashing” investigation

A pair of hands holding a mobile phone which has the Shopify logo on it
Plus: What Tobi Lütke said at the BetaKit Town Hall.

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Shopify posts revenue beat and surprise loss in Q1, touts European growth

Canadian e-commerce software giant Shopify surpassed analyst revenue estimates but its shares have fallen as the company also posted an expected net loss in its first-quarter earnings.

Shopify reported $1.86 billion USD in revenue for 23 percent year-over-year growth during Q1 2024, or 29 percent after adjusting for the sale of its logistics business last year. This amount slightly exceeded the average analyst forecast of $1.84 billion, driven by growth in subscription revenue, payments penetration, and gross merchandise volume.

“Right now you are seeing the strongest version of Shopify in history,” Shopify President Harley Finkelstein told analysts.


Competition Bureau investigating Lululemon over greenwashing allegations

Canada’s Competition Bureau has opened a formal investigation into Lululemon’s environmental claims in its marketing campaigns, a spokesperson for the agency told CBC News on Monday.

Stand.earth, the non-profit that filed the complaint against the B.C. athleisure giant accusing it of greenwashing, had announced the investigation earlier on Monday.

The complaint, which the non-profit said was filed in February, says Lululemon’s Be Planet sustainability campaign from 2020 — in which the company said it would work to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions — is contradicted by a 2022 impact report that outlined Lululemon’s progress in reaching its climate goals.


Shopify CEO says Canada must overcome “go-for-bronze” culture at BetaKit Town Hall

The BetaKit Town Hall at the University of Toronto’s Myhal Centre on Tuesday brought together all corners of the tech ecosystem to discuss the state of innovation in Canada, and what should be done to support it.

Addressing the 500 attendees—which included ecosystem leaders, major VCs, and fledgling founders—during his fireside chat with BetaKit board chair Staish Kanwar, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke leaned into the theme of “tough love,” saying the country suffers from a “go-for-bronze” culture that is often lacking in courage and ambition.

The event also platformed the vantage points of entrepreneurs in different stages of their careers to dig into what challenges and opportunities they currently face in the ecosystem and what they think needs to change. Watch the discussion between early-stage founder Joella Almeida (MedEssist), scaling founder Ivan Zhang (Cohere), repeat founder Ali Asaria (Tulip), and ecosystem newcomer Jocelyne Murphy (Socratica) here.

Their ideas ignited discussions in-person and online, offering a pulse check on the state of Canadian tech. Many expressed optimism as multiple generations of the ecosystem galvanized around the debated issues for the first time in a while, but others were eager for more action.


Shein to Prioritize Compliance Amid U.S. Forced Labor Crackdown

China-founded fashion giant Shein told employees it is stepping up its efforts to keep products made with forced labor off its site, citing tougher U.S. enforcement to screen low-value parcels that previously received little customs scrutiny.

In a memo to senior managers, Shein’s executive chair, Donald Tang, said the company is prioritizing compliance and called on U.S.-based managers to report potential issues, saying people who raise “legitimate concerns” won’t be subject to any retribution. Shein also plans to boost staffing for its in-house compliance team 50% and increase its spending with supply chain vetting firms another 50% by 2026, according to a separate internal memo.

(The Information)

AppDirect acquires low-code B2B marketplace builder Builtfirst

Canadian-founded AppDirect is acquiring fellow San Francisco-based marketplace-building platform Builtfirst for an undisclosed amount.

AppDirect said that adding the Builtfirst platform to its product suite makes AppDirect a single-source destination for businesses looking to build marketplaces. Similar to AppDirect’s offering, Builtfirst is a self-service, low-code online B2B marketplace builder that allows companies to white-label and provide perks, integrations, and services from Builtfirst’s established partners or showcase their own.


Fast-Delivery Survivor Gopuff Burned $400 Million Last Year

Instant-delivery pioneer Gopuff is the last speedy-delivery startup left standing in the U.S. after its best-funded competitor, Getir, said last week it would pull out of the country. That’s left Gopuff in the same position it was in 10 years and billions of dollars ago: trying to beat DoorDash.

But Gopuff is in a weaker financial position than DoorDash. Gopuff burned around $400 million in 2023, according to a former executive and another person with direct knowledge of the figures. That was despite a cutback in marketing and discounts.

(The Information)

Vacasa Laid Off 13% of Its Workforce

Vacasa announced that it laid off 800 employees, or 13% of it workforce, as it restructured the company.

The layoffs included 40% of its corporate and central operations staff, and 6% of its employees in the field.

“These changes will implement a reorganization of the Company’s operations, to further equip its field teams to locally manage, and be accountable for, their markets, while significantly reducing the Company’s central corporate footprint,” the property management company said in a financial filing Thursday after the market closed.


Hard Knocks: The lawyer behind some of Canada’s biggest (and quietest) deals

Not many people have behind-the-scenes access to Canada’s biggest tech exits and funding deals. Chad Bayne does.

As a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s emerging and high-growth companies practice, he gets a front row seat to how these deals are really done. One of his top takeaways? That the loudest startup in the room isn’t always the one making the most progress.


Instacart is getting restaurant delivery — thanks to Uber Eats

Grocery delivery service Instacart is expanding into restaurant takeout thanks to a new partnership with Uber Eats.

In the coming weeks, Instacart will add a new feature for restaurant delivery, with the back-end mechanics powered by Uber. The listing of restaurants will be provided by Uber, the transaction will be overseen by Uber’s software, and the food will be picked up and delivered by Uber Eats couriers. The only difference is that everything will take place within Instacart’s app or website.

(The Verge)

Why every business leader in Canada needs a Tech MBA

A new world of business calls for a new kind of business degree.

That was the thinking behind the launch last fall of the MBA in Technology Leadership—better known as the Tech MBA—by York University’s Schulich School of Business.

The Tech MBA, a 16-month graduate program, is aimed at helping prepare a generation of business leaders for a world that is increasingly driven by technology.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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