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Aussie entrepreneurs win big in Shopify competition – StartupSmart

Australian iPhone entrepreneurs Rob Ward and Chris Peters are among the winners of Shopify’s Build-A-Business competition, receiving $25,000 in cash and a VIP business trip to New York.


Based in Canada, Shopify is an eCommerce platform that allows individuals and businesses to create online stores. The platform currently hosts more than 20,000 online retailers.


Last year, Shopify kicked off its Build-A-Business contest, offering $100,000 to a new online business launched on Shopify that posted the highest grossing sales in an eight-month period.


Winners were selected based on the revenue of their two best months during the competition.


“Over 3,000 entrepreneurs created new online stores that sold over $12 million in products during the eight-month competition period,” Shopify spokesperson Mark Hayes says.


“The grand prize is $100,000 cash, along with VIP trips to New York City and San Francisco to meet with [entrepreneurs] Timothy Ferriss, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.”


“In addition to the grand prize, we’re awarding a total of $150,000 cash and $60,000 in Google AdWords credits to seven industry and regional winners.”


While Ward and Peters didn’t take out the top prize – that honour went to US start-up Coffee Joulies – they were named number one performer in the “Other” category of the competition.


It’s worth noting this category was the biggest one in the competition, totaling 34% of sales. The other categories were apparel and jewellery, food and health, sports and hobbies, art and photography, and home and office.


Other Australian category winners included FlockStocks, which supplies hair extensions and is based in Byron Bay, and Cairns-based business My Footy Boots, which sells football boots.


Based in Melbourne, Ward and Peters are the brains behind the Opena Case – an iPhone case that doubles as a bottle opener – and also designed an iPhone mount known as Quad Lock.


Ward and Peters used crowdfunding website Kickstarter to finance the Opena Case, before choosing the Shopify platform to sell their products.


“We chose the platform because it’s customisable, scaleable, can  process order from all over the world and it’s easy to plug in third-party logistics,” Ward says.


With sales for the Opena Case exceeding 10,000 units across 67 countries within a few months of trading, the entrepreneurs pushed hard in the last few months of the competition.


The win has landed them an impressive prize pack including $25,000 in cash, a VIP trip to New York for lunch with marketing guru Seth Godin, and $7,500 Google Adwords credit.


Ward and Peters operate under the name Annex Products, and recently signed a worldwide distribution partnership with multinational mobile tech firm Forward Industries.

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