Co-op students are crucial to the global growth of e-commerce startup

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Group of Perpetua employees and co-op students smiling for a group shot at a seller meet up in Tokyo

By: Krista Henry (she/her)

In four years, e-commerce startup Perpetua expanded from Canada to Asia, Europe and South America. Co-op students help to drive that growth.

Founded in Waterloo, Perpetua has grown from 40 employees to more than 200. Today, the e-commerce advertising software company is building tools to support giants like Amazon, Walmart, Instacart and Target. Founded by two Waterloo alumni, Rosco Hill (BASc ’03) and Joe Rideout (BMath ’03), Perpetua has utilized the power of co-op students from the start.

Jennie DarnleyJennie Darnley
Talent acquisition co-ordinator at Perpetua

“Our co-op program is a big part of the company,” says Jennie Darnley (she/her), talent acquisition coordinator at Perpetua.
“We have strong ties with the University of Waterloo, employing many alumni who started here as co-op students.” 
At the organization, students deliver on projects to help tackle the company’s exponential growth. According to an article on, a Statista report projects that global e-commerce market sales will reach US $6.3 trillion in 2023.
Industry analysts believe that technologies currently in development will further propel the global e-commerce market.

By 2027, e-commerce is expected to account for 47 per cent of retail growth according to an article on Perpetua aims to build advertising tools to support sustainable growth in the e-commerce industry.

Developing talent for the future

Perpetua’s sustainable talent strategy relies on students filling roles such as front-end and back-end engineers and mobile engineers.  

“Co-op students work in the same way as a full-time engineer, delivering on feature projects and fixing bugs on the product roadmap on a two-week sprint basis,” says Hana Leung (she/her), engineering manager at Perpetua.

“Co-ops help these projects by executing engineering tasks and contributing to decisions, investigations and testing of the feature within the software development lifecycle.” 

Waterloo co-op students bring their programming knowledge to Perpetua including typescript/react for frontend development and Python/Django for backend development.

Darnley also values the experience students have gained during multiple previous work terms across industries. 

HanaHana Leung
Engineering manager at Perpetua 


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Students offer fresh perspectives from their work experience as well as different ideas they have learned through co-op. Our co-op program at Perpetua allows us to test talent that we can transition into full-time. They get a glance of what it’s like to work with us and, near the end of their time with us, we often offer them to come back following graduation



Attracting emerging tech talent

To attract the next generation of talent like co-op students, the organization offers students the opportunity to work on high-growth projects. Students also appreciate Perpetua’s exciting culture with a variety of in-person activities. According to Darnley, students want to work in current and relevant fields like e-commerce.

Adam FabickiAdam Fabicki
Engineering manager at Perpetua 

“Working in the e-commerce space at Perpetua means co-op students will learn how to sell products in some of the largest online marketplaces in the world - including Amazon and Walmart,” says Adam Fabicki (he/him), engineering manager at Perpetua.

“They’ll understand how businesses reach their customers through different advertising strategies and work with big data and optimization algorithms to solve these challenging problems.” 

Unlike bigger global tech companies, Perpetua offers students an innovative, high growth space where they can make an impact.

The organization focuses on continuous learning for their team members and students.


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The key to retaining tech talent is treating them like they are valued. Co-op students are not here to fill gaps, they are working on real time projects. We want to see what they can do.