By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Canada’s Shopify Inc , a maker of software that helps retailers manage online stores, forecast a sharp jump in 2016 revenue as the company reported a record number of new merchants signed up for its service in the fourth quarter.
The Ottawa-based company, which went public in May, said the total value of sales processed on its platform more than doubled from a year ago, hitting $2.8 billion in the quarter that includes both post-Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping.
Its U.S.-listed shares surged 19 percent to $24.47 and it jumped 18 percent to C$33.58 in Toronto in early trade on Wednesday.
The company’s founder and chief executive, Tobi Lütke, said Shopify had “cracked the code” on mobile commerce, with almost half its orders in the quarter made via mobile phone.
Shopify has in recent months struck deals allowing retailers to sell products from Amazon.com and from social media networks operated by companies including Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Pinterest.
The company has also partnered with taxi-hailing service company Uber for its UberRUSH same-day delivery service.
“This company will never ever be limited by its ambitions,” Lütke told investors and analysts on a conference call.
Shopify said it expects revenue to rise to $320 million-$330 million in 2016 from $205.2 million reported for 2015.
Revenue jumped 33 percent to $70.2 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from the third quarter, helped by strong holiday shopping.
However, the company’s net loss widened to $6.3 million from $4.8 million a year ago, mainly due to higher costs.
Cost of revenue rose 44 percent, while total operating expenses increased 27 percent.
On a per-share basis, net loss attributable to shareholders widened to 8 cents per share from 6 cents.
The company said it expects an adjusted operating loss of $16 million-$22 million in 2016, compared to $7.7 million in 2015. (Additional reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Meredith Mazzilli)