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How Angry Birds Set Up Its Online Store with Shopify How digital commerce platform Shopify helped Angry Birds creator Rovio Mobile spread its wings into licensed merchandise sales.

By Jason Ankeny

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Those birds may be irate--you would be too if evil green pigs stole your eggs--but Angry Birds creator Rovio Mobile is laughing all the way to the bank. With more than 100 million total downloads and 40 million monthly active users, Angry Birds is the signature hit of the mobile app era, spinning off sequels (Angry Birds Rio, a tie-in with the 20th Century Fox animated family feature Rio) and landing Espoo, Finland-based Rovio a $42 million Series A funding round in March 2011.

The worldwide popularity of Angry Birds and the striking character designs of the game's pleasingly plump, fine-feathered heroes made it inevitable that Rovio would expand its flock to include branded merchandise.

"Our strategy was to make a hit app, build the brand and capitalize on that success," says Niklas Kari, Rovio's head of retail.

In the summer of 2010, Rovio began working with New York City-based manufacturer Commonwealth Toy & Novelty to produce a line of plush toys. But Rovio is a mobile application developer, not a retailer, so the startup teamed with digital commerce solutions provider Shopify to get a virtual storefront up and running to sell the toys. The Ottawa, Ontario, startup targets small and medium-size businesses seeking a simple approach to digital sales: Shopify offers more than 50 free and premium online store themes, inventory management and editing tools, payment acceptance features, analytics data and a dedicated support team.

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