December 13, 2010, 11:37 AM

E-commerce platform provider Shopify raises $7 million

Part of the money will go toward international expansion and improved technology.

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Shopify, which sets up online retail stores for companies, said today it had received $7 million in an initial investment round. Shopify plans to use the money to fund expansion outside the United States and improve its technology and tools for web site developers, says Tobias Lutke, the company’s CEO and co-founder.

The money came from Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital and Felicis Ventures. Alex Ferrara, a Bessemer partner, will join Shopify’s board.

Amish Jani, managing director at FirstMark, says Shopify is an attractive investment because its technology enables retailers to create an online store within 20 minutes. “Here you have a next-generation e-commerce platform that can get you up and running as quickly as possible,” he says.

Shopify supports about 10,000 online stores, Lutke says. Clients include Tesla Motors, Amnesty International and the Foo Fighters, a rock band. Customers seeking Foo Fighters merchandise at the band’s own site click a link that takes them to the Shopify-supported e-commerce site. The vendor’s technology supports checkout and payment processing via PayPal and credit cards.

Shopify serves customers in 60 countries but has yet to mount any significant marketing campaigns outside North America, Lutke says. The new funding will help change that. “While we are already profitable, the support gives us additional tools and resources to improve our products and add value for our users,” he says. “Our mission continues to be making it as easy as possible for retailers of all sizes and resources to start and run a business online.”

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