- E-commerce enabler Shopify has acquired Tiny Hearts, a Toronto-based product design studio and developer of popular mobile applications Pocket Zoo, WakeAlarm, Next Keyboard and Quick Fit, among others. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Shopify and Tiny Hearts previously worked together to create a pop-up shop called Popify as well as Shopify apps Frenzy (a flash sales app) and Skopkey (a keyboard app for the iPhone that gives online merchants easy access to their product catalogs as they respond to customer inquires via text message or over messaging apps like WhatsApp or Messenger).
According to Tiny Hearts, its apps have been downloaded more than six million times, and have registered as high as No. 2 on Apple's App Store charts. The company is moving its six-employee team to a Shopify office also located in Toronto.
This sounds like one of those rare deals in which it's easy to believe all the nice things both companies say about one another. Both parties appear to know exactly what they are getting into, having worked together on several projects over the last five years.
It's not so rare for Shopify to acquire much smaller firms with which it has partnered on projects. This deal actually sounds quite similar to Shopify's acquisition of another product design firm, Boltmade, which was announced back in October. Plus, it fits even more neatly with an announcement Shopify made a few days after that acquisition about its efforts to enable Facebook's Messenger platform as a sales channel for its merchant clientele.
The acquisition of Tiny Hearts again shows us a Shopify that is being aggressive about taking its e-commerce platform in new directions as it tries to stay competitive with Amazon, eBay, Salesforce's Demandware and others. That means expanding on the mobile and social media tools it provides to its retailer customers. The Shopkey app for Apple's iOS devices that Shopify and Tiny Hearts already collaborated on, and which makes it easier for merchants to communicate with customers via text message, provides a pretty good hint where this marriage is headed.
By acquiring Tiny Hearts, Shopify also brings in-house a company that, despite being pretty small, has been very popular on its own. Tiny Hearts clearly knows its way around the Apple environment, and how to create apps that will appeal to the users of those devices. As more of commerce becomes mobile, acquiring a team with prove mobile app talent and its own track record of success should serve Shopify well. Meanwhile, there are others out there like Tiny Hearts — small developers in sync with where mobile commerce is heading, and don't be surprised if a few more of them end up being acquired by Shopify.