The Motley Fool

Shopify Inc. Prepares for its Next Leg Up

If you blinked, you probably missed the March 5 press release from Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP)(NYSE:SHOP) announcing the appointment of the company’s new CFO, Amy Shapero, who replaces the retiring Russ Jones, who joined the company as its first CFO in 2011.

“Amy brings extensive financial, operational, and strategic experience,” said Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke. “This, combined with her deep knowledge of the technology industry and experience scaling high-growth companies, will be a huge asset to Shopify as we enter our next phase of growth.”

Just as Jones brought financial controls and procedures to the e-commerce platform early on in its growth phase, Shapero brings an understanding of what it takes to keep a tech startup on the right path to even greater success.

I don’t think Lütke’s comments do justice to how critical this hiring is. Having faced significant criticism over the past year — most notably from Citron Research analyst Andrew Left — Shapero’s hiring indicates that accounting pros aren’t being scared away by Left’s Ponzi scheme claims.

On the contrary.

Goodbye betterment, hello Shopify

Shapero is leaving her job as CFO at Betterment to join the Shopify growth train. That’s something when you consider that Betterment is one of the hottest financial services startups in recent history. In September 2017, Betterment snagged US$70 million in additional Series E funding that pegged the company’s valuation at US$800 million. That’s not bad for a company that was only launched in 2010.

In the last two years, the New York-based robo-advisor has grown the number of customers by 167% from 120,000 to 320,000 and assets under management by 333% to US$13 billion. As robo-advisors go, it’s the biggest in the U.S.

Shapero only joined Betterment in May 2016. To leave after less than two years, she must believe that Shopify’s got even more growth potential.

If you’re a Shopify investor, this has got to be music to your ears.

Not the only addition

The final paragraph of Shopify’s press release also announced the hiring of Jeff Weiser as the company’s chief marketing officer. All big companies have a CMO these days; most recently Weiser was the CMO for Shutterstock Inc., the company that supplies stock photos for your corporate brochure, but more importantly, another great addition to a leading tech company.

So, although Shapero is the main story, Weiser’s hiring allows current CMO Craig Miller to focus all of his attention on his other role as chief product officer.

With the latest additions to its management team, Shopify now has a CEO, COO, CFO, CMO and CPO, all with real-world technology experience.

I’m not sure you can put a price on what this means to the company as it prepares for its next leg up regarding both the company’s revenue growth and its stock price.

Is a $200 Shopify stock price mere days away? I think so. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Will Ashworth has no position in any stocks mentioned. Tom Gardner owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of Shopify and SHOPIFY INC.  Shopify is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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