Tobias Lütke is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shopify, a Canadian multinational e-commerce company that is headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario. Shopify has an proprietary e-commerce platform designed specifically for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. Lütke has also been a part of the core team behind the Ruby on Rails framework and has created open-source libraries like Active Merchant.
Lütke was born in 1981. At the age of six, his parents gave him a Schneider CPC, an 8-bit home computer. By the age of 11 or 12, Lütke started writing the code for games he played and modified computer hardware for fun. In 2002, Lütke moved from Germany to Canada.
Lütke dropped out of school after the 10th grade and entered an apprentice program at the Koblenzer Carl-Benz-School to become a computer programmer.
In 2004, Lütke assisted in the launch of an online snowboard shop called Snowdevil. He built a new e-commerce platform for the site using the Ruby on Rails framework. Shortly thereafter, Lütke and the other Snowdevil founders shifted their focus from snowboards to e-commerce and launched Shopify that same year. Lütke started as Shopify’s Chief Technology Officer from September 2004 through April 2008, then became Chief Executive Officer.
Lütke owns 7 percent of Shopify and the company’s market capitalization is $191.84 billion. According to Forbes, Lütke is ranked #232 on Billionaires of 2021 and is worth $8.3 billion.
The Globe and Mail newspaper named Lütke “CEO of the Year” in November 2014. He received the Meritorious Service Cross on November 5, 2018. In 2019, Lütke donated 1,000,001 seedlings to Team Trees, a fundraiser to plant 20 million trees. In 2021, he also donated $1,200,001 to Team Seas, a fundraiser to remove 30,000,000 pounds (14,000,000 kg) of marine debris from the ocean. In September 2021, Lütke announced he and other current and former Shopify top executives and Celtic House Venture Partners had invested $3 million in Creative Layer, which was described as “a global personalized print-on-demand platform for managing Shopify orders, proofs, fulfillment, and team members.”