When business historians look back at what happened in tech between 2020 and 2022, one subject they’ll likely explore is the mass suspension of disbelief that led venture capitalists, startup founders and big companies to go wild spending money on all sorts of crazy stuff. We’re now living through the retreat from those moves, which we at The Information have been chronicling regularly, including in our deep dive today into the reckoning that’s underway for hundreds of startups formed over the past three years to help creators run their businesses.
One particularly striking U-turn was the one Shopify took in early May when it abandoned its efforts to build an Amazon-like delivery network and instead said it would sell most of its logistics business including the Deliverr firm it acquired just 10 months earlier. Even more stunning, as a top Shopify executive revealed to The Information for this piece today, the Canadian e-commerce firm decided to explore selling the logistics business after someone else offered to buy it late last year. That timing is meaningful because in mid-February of this year—by implication, when Shopify was contemplating a sale of the business—executives told Wall Street analysts on a conference call that “we have made significant strides in integrating Deliverr” into Shopify and said they planned to continue integrating the operation in 2023. Talk about not giving investors the whole story! (Shopify says "investors know the difference between being approached and entering into serious discussions" on a sale).