- Gadget is a tech startup founded by two former Shopify executives.
- On Thursday it announced a tool designed to help developers build apps for Shopify more quickly.
- Its founders, Harry Brundage and Mo Hashemi, played a role in building Shopify’s checkout system.
Gadget, a technology startup founded by two former Shopify executives, announced a new product Thursday meant to further its goal of making e-commerce apps easier for developers to launch and scale.
The new tool, Connections, is designed to help app makers connect their software to the APIs of third-party platforms, starting with Shopify’s app store.
“Often when you’re building applications for third-party app stores, there’s a lot of boilerplate work that’s quite repetitive,” Gadget’s cofounder Mo Hashemi told Insider.
That work could include tasks like API authentication and fetching and securely storing data. Hashemi estimated that Connections could save developers four to eight weeks of grunt work.
Hashemi and his Gadget cofounder, Harry Brundage, spent years leading tech teams at Shopify. Hashemi spent more than four years in product, becoming the general manager in charge of Shopify’s fintech products before leaving the company in 2018. Brundage joined Shopify in 2011 as one of the company’s first interns. He rose through the ranks to become a director of engineering for Shopify’s core products before leaving near the end of 2017.
Their time at the e-commerce company helped them understand the needs of the developers building for Shopify’s platform, Hashemi said. Both also worked on building Shopify’s checkout, an experience that inspired their decision to launch Gadget. Shopify’s checkout tool grew to be widely used during their time at the company.
“Shopify’s checkout is one of the highest throughput pieces of software on the internet,” Hashemi said. “You have merchants like Kanye West and Kylie Jenner who woke up at 9 in the morning, put out a tweet that said, ‘I have a million units of my famous lipstick kit to sell,’ and then tens of millions of people on the internet hit the checkout at the same time and try to process orders.”
He said Gadget’s suite of offerings was “auto-scale, meaning that when you build your app in our platform, there’s a framework that kind of holds your hand and makes it such that you are building with best practices and Kylie Jenner can install your app on day one.”
Playing a part in ‘arming the rebels’
Gadget’s tools are initially free to use; once an app that was built using Gadget makes it onto Shopify’s app store and is downloaded by merchants, then the startup begins earning a cut.
A company representative said Gadget had “thousands” of users and “dozens” of apps in production.
Shopify’s app store is home to some 7,000 apps meant to help the platform’s more than 1.75 million merchants run their businesses effectively. Third-party developers build apps that help with tasks such as product sourcing and shipping as well as marketing, discounting, and accounting.
Building apps for Shopify’s ecosystem can be lucrative even for individual developers and small startups. Shopify also invested in some of its most successful partners, including the SMS and email marketing startup Klaviyo, in which it just invested $100 million.
Having a robust app ecosystem is a key for Shopify — the better tools there are for merchants, the more sales merchants can convert and the better Shopify does. The company has more than once referred to its mission as “arming the rebels” against Amazon’s empire.
And even though the prospect of a recession is creating a difficult environment for tech startups, Hashemi argues Gadget is offering developers good value in helping them to save time and money.
“I think that value proposition just seems to work in this new landscape we’re going to,” Hashemi said.
Gadget wants to eventually go beyond e-commerce and make its productivity tools available to anyone wanting to build any kind of app on the internet. All of Gadget’s tools, including features that help with database management, file storage, and app-installation tracking, are at the moment available only for Shopify apps.
Gadget has raised $8.5 million in venture capital from investors including Sequoia Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners. Gadget’s investors also include Cody Fauser, Shopify’s former chief technology officer, and Solmaz Shahalizadeh, a former head of data science and engineering at Shopify who is now a partner at Backbone Angels.