Toronto-based mobile studio Tiny Hearts has been acquired by Shopify.
It’s the second acquisition for Shopify in just over two months; in October, the company acquired Waterloo-based Boltmade in an effort to accelerate the development of Shopify Plus.
“Tiny Hearts has a track record of shipping apps that people love and we’re excited to have them join our team,” said Satish Kanwar, director of product at Shopify. “The team is not only bringing strong mobile talent to Shopify, but also their leadership and experience. They will help us unlock mobile as the best platform for growing Shopify.”
Shopify will be acquiring all of Tiny Hearts’ apps, and the Tiny Hearts team will be joining Shopify’s Toronto office.
In a blog post, Tiny Hearts founder and CEO Robleh Jama detailed the circumstances behind the decision to pursue acquisition. Tiny Hearts is well-known for products like Next Keyboard, Pocket Zoo, Wake Alarm, and Quick Fit. In October, Tiny Hearts shut down Next Keyboard, which Jama said was not a sustainable business.
While Jama says that building products like this was the team’s passion, it didn’t pay the bills. Instead, Jama funded the company through Shopify store Busy Building Things (which Shopify will also be acquiring), and client services work.
It was the latter that made the Tiny Hearts team feel, as Jama puts it, that they were selling their souls.
“Some services work was with really great clients we loved, and other ones we took because of our change in strategy — to be sustainable through services,” Jama said in his blog post. “These other projects were really difficult. We went through the motions, but we didn’t always get a chance to build the great products we would be proud of.”
While Tiny Hearts started talking to VC firms about investing in the company in order to fund their passion of building products, Kanwar — whose own company Jet Cooper was acquired by Shopify in 2013 — proposed the idea of joining Shopify.
“This past summer we started working with their Garage team on the Frenzy app and realized that our teams and goals were really well aligned,” said Jama. “During this time, we wrapped our heads around that nasty realization. It would take much more time than we’d cared to build good services revenue before we’d be able to fund our own products.”
Jama says the company wasn’t forced into acquisition with plenty of cash reserves, but felt that joining Shopify was the best way to continue working directly on product.
Tiny Hearts’ clients have included Wealthsimple, Blue Ant Media, the City of Toronto, and Philips.
This article was originally published on BetaKit.
Source: Tiny Hearts