Chief Operating Officer, Shopify | “Dragon” on Next Gen Den
Harley Finkelstein started from the ground up. To put himself through law school, he sold t-shirts using Shopify—an e-commerce platform that was relatively unknown at the time. That decision in 2005 ultimately led him to become Shopify’s Chief Operating Officer, where he helped transform the company into a global industry leader. Dubbed “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2013 for his success as an entrepreneur, and named in 2015 as a new “Dragon” for CBC’s Next Gen Den, Finkelstein lives by his personal entrepreneurial philosophy of “the hustle”: go hard, go fast, build the best, and execute.
Finkelstein started his first company as a 17-year-old student at McGill, when he bought a silkscreen press and was soon selling hundreds of shirts to his classmates. Three years later, he was creating promotional apparel for dozens of universities across Canada. Through this successful business, he met Tobias Lütke—the founder of Shopify. Lütke immediately recognized Finkelstein’s entrepreneurial passion, and invited him to join the company. Together, they grew Shopify into what quickly became the “rockstar” of Canada’s startup scene.
Shopify is now a publicly-traded company with more than 750 employees across four offices, and currently powers over 175,000 businesses in more than 150 countries, including Tesla Motors, Budweiser, Wikipedia, LA Lakers, the New York Stock Exchange, GoldieBlox, and many more.
In addition to his work with Shopify, Finkelstein is on the Board of the C100, and is an advisor to Felicis Ventures. He holds a combined Law and MBA degree from the University of Ottawa.