Tiny acquires Pixel Union, commits $25 million CAD to acquire more Shopify partners


Victoria-based technology holding company, Tiny, has procured a majority stake in Pixel Union, a major Shopify partner. The purchase price was not disclosed, but Tiny has allocated $25 million to acquire other companies in the Shopify ecosystem.

“We are committed to supporting both Shopify and its customers as they continue to build the future of ecommerce.”

Pixel Union designs custom themes for online platforms, builds custom sites and stores, and offers a range of web services. Pixel Union was founded by Tiny in 2009, which sold a majority stake of the company to Teligence Capital in 2014. Earlier this month, Tiny led a round of investment that also included Freemark Partners, Saltwater, and Syrus Partners to reacquire Teligence Capital’s shares in Pixel Union.

“It’s clear that ecommerce is the future, but many people miss just how early in the story we still are. In 2018, only 14 percent of total retail sales happened online,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chairman and managing partner of Tiny. “That volume is set to more than double in the next decade, and we want to help make that happen.”

Tiny starts, acquires, and invests in internet businesses. The company has previously invested in Vancouver-based MediMap and Victoria-based Checkfront, as well as international public and private startups.

Shopify is in the midst of some strife with former partner companies, following a very public flare-up with Mailchimp, along with Facebook’s new checkout platform for Instagram. Satish Kanwar, VP of product at Shopify, recently told BetaKit the company is trying to foster more opportunity for its ecosystem, by buttressing its partners and having them scale alongside Shopify.

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Kanwar also said that Shopify’s focus is to help its partners and app developers, like Bold Commerce, (which recently closed an unprecedented Series A round), integrate its payments solutions instead of going to third parties.

“Shopify is the best ecommerce platform in the market and is well-positioned to help bring more retailers online,” Wilkinson said. “We could not be more excited to throw our full weight behind the platform and to continue to invest our time, energy, and capital into making Shopify the number one choice for online retailers.”

Pixel Union’s CEO, Ben Moore, who also contributed to the recent round, will continue to manage the business as it looks to raise its interests in Shopify’s network.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have this renewed mandate from Tiny and the other shareholders as we pursue our strategy of developing integrated products and services that empower Shopify merchants,” Moore stated. “We believe strongly in Shopify’s mission, its team and its product, and we are committed to supporting both Shopify and its customers as they continue to build the future of ecommerce.”

Image courtesy Shopify.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.