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How Shopify Became the Go-To Ecommerce Platform for Startups Dissatisfied with options for online storefronts, a snowboard seller and his friend built one themselves. Now thousands of other businesses use their customizable store builder.

By Katherine Duncan

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Tobias Lütke was frustrated. He knew he had something great to sell (a line of elite snowboards), but he couldn't find a practical way to retail his merchandise online. Even with years of professional programming experience under his belt, Lütke found that his efforts were continuously thwarted by rigid e-commerce platforms with limited design options, making it difficult to integrate with other services.

"At one point, in an especially frustrated moment on a Friday evening, I said, 'Well, if I spend all weekend working really hard, I can probably create the software myself and then we won't have any of these problems anymore,'" he says.

Before long, Lütke and friend Scott Lake were less motivated to sell snowboards than they were to build a business around the e-commerce platform they had created to help others sell their wares online. The duo spent a year and a half expanding and improving their software, paying special attention to flexibility.

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