Shopify Hails Machine Learning After Extending Funds for Merchants to $2billion – The Fintech Times

Shopify Hails Machine Learning After Extending Funds for Merchants to $2billion – The Fintech Times

Shopify, the multinational e-commerce company, has upped the maximum amount of funds businesses can access to $2billion to help boost the growth of its fast-scaling merchants.

Shopify introduced Shopify Capital,a business finance programme that offers short-term business funding in the form of merchant cash advances and short-term loans, in the middle of 2016.

Through machine learning models, eligible merchants can benefit from funding from Shopify Capital within two to five business days. Merchants can choose how they want to invest their funds while maintaining complete ownership of their business.

Since launch, Shopify Capital – which is also available directly through the Shopify platform – has provided $2billion in funding to merchants to thousands of merchants in the US, UK and Canada. Previously, it granted funds ranging from $200 to $1million but has now increased the maximum amount to $2million.

Shopify Capital in focus
  • According to Shopify, it has funded more capital to merchants than ever before in the first quarter of 2021 – more than $300 million (up 90 per cent year-on-year). It has also reported seeing larger merchants take on larger advances.
  • Comparing January 2020 to January 2021, the number of merchants who pre-qualified for Shopify Capital increased by 78 per cent. While the average pre-qualified amount of funding increased by 16 per cent.
  • Since Shopify Capital’s launch in 2016, three-quarters of of merchants who receive capital returned for at least one additional round of funding.
  • Prairie Supply Co, a Canadian skateboard and snowboard shop, says it has used Shopify Capital to purchase inventory quickly and hire staff, while UK bookshop Queer Lit has invested in inventory and personalised shipping for its customers.

Kaz Nejatian, VP product, merchant services at Shopify, said: “Today, entrepreneurs still find it challenging to get the funding they need to grow. Our goal is to remove that barrier and provide them with financial tools to help them succeed.

“By providing modern funding developed with today’s small businesses in mind – and financial products that actually cater to their needs – we’re levelling the playing field for our merchants.”

Machine learning

According to Shopify, it is the continually improving machine learning algorithm behind Capital that empowers its predictive model.

To determine merchant eligibility, it analyses more than 70 million data points across the Shopify platform to understand trends in merchants’ growth potential. It claims this machine learning model enables it to predict merchants’ minimum sales with 90 per cent accuracy.

“Machine learning is the reason we’re able to get our merchants the funding they need, at the speed required to boost their business growth, at the right time,” said Solmaz Shahalizadeh, VP data science and engineering, commerce intelligence at Shopify.

“The machine learning principles behind Shopify Capital enabled us to pioneer bringing AI into production in a way that hadn’t been seen in the industry before. Today, we’ve built upon those principles and scaled them across Shopify’s portfolio of AI products.”

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