Photo of Solmaz Shahalizadeh, Operating Advisor

Solmaz Shahalizadeh

Operating Advisor


Solmaz Shahalizadeh is an operating advisor at Bessemer, an executive and advisor in data and product, and a founding partner of Backbone Angels, a collective focused on funding more diverse and women-founded companies.

Most recently, she was the Vice President and Head of Data at Shopify, helping it grow from 100k to over 1.75 million merchants from 2013 to 2022. In her role, Solmaz was the voice of data in the senior leadership team and evangelized a culture of being data informed across the company. She spent her early years building the company’s financial data warehouse and analytics, and played a critical role in their successful IPO. With a passion to create experiences powered by data, she started and scaled Shopify’s portfolio of data products such as Shopify’s order fraud detection that runs in real-time on every order placed across Shopify platform, and Shopify Capital that has funded over 3B$ in cash advances to merchants based on machine learning models. As the leader of the data team and discipline, she grew Shopify’s data team to over 500 data scientists, engineers and product managers, and additionally took on leading the suite of merchant-facing analytical products to give Shopify merchants best-in-class analytical experiences.

Prior to Shopify, Solmaz worked as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and data scientist at McGill University, in the latter role she contributed to cancer research, using methods to build predictors of outcomes for breast cancer.

Solmaz is the winner of the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Best Executive award in 2020, and a recipient of the Forty Under 40 by the Ottawa Business Journal in 2021, both recognizing her leadership and work in the Technology field.

Outside of advising companies, she has invested in and her love for technology in general, Solmaz likes to travel any chance she gets.