Shopify acquires Toronto app development studio Tiny Hearts

Ottawa-based e-commerce darling Shopify Inc. announced today that it would be acquiring Toronto-based mobile product development studio Tiny Hearts Ltd., known for apps such as Wake Alarm, Quick Fit, and Next Keyboard; motivational print online store Busy Building Things; and for its service work for companies including Philips, Wealthsimple – and yes, Shopify.

The acquisition includes all of Tiny Hearts’ existing apps and Busy Building Things. The Tiny Hearts brand and corporation, however, will be retired, and the company’s product team will be moving into Shopify’s Toronto office, founder Robleh Jama wrote in a lengthy Dec. 5 blog post.

“This is a huge milestone for our little company,” Jama wrote. “Shopify is a company we have immense respect for and we’re super excited to be joining them to help build the future of commerce.”

According to Jama, the company’s apps have been downloaded by more than 6 million users, and the Quick Fit app appeared in an Apple commercial.

On the services front, Tiny Hearts collaborated with Shopify in 2013 for one of the latter company’s first experiments with pop-up shops, called Popify. It also helped build the first version of the company’s ecommerce keyboard for iOS, Shopkey, which was released in February.

“Unfortunately, just as we were starting to take on much more services work, we realized we didn’t want to go all-in on it,” Jama wrote. “It was never our plan to purely build products for other people — that was just a way of funding our own products.”

Jama started Tiny Hearts in 2009 soon after quitting his job to build his first app, Pocket Zoo, which was initially a massive hit but faded in popularity in 2011 the same year Jama happened to use Shopify to set up Busy Building Things, which he initially considered a side project but was soon making more than $6000 in a week, with Shopify alone buying more than $700 in BBT merchandise for its Ottawa office.

BBT prints can now be found at the Silicon Valley offices of Facebook, Google, Mailchimp, and Apple.

Being acquired by Shopify means the former Tiny Hearts team not only gets to join one of “the most talented teams in Toronto,” and “one of the most respected companies in the country,” Jama wrote, but being able to work directly on product.

“We’re incredibly excited to see what’s next, and how our mission will intertwine with Shopify’s — to make commerce better for everyone — in the next chapter of our journey,” he wrote.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of ITBusiness.ca turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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