Dax Dasilva – The Mastermind Behind Lightspeed

Small Business Canada

Dax Dasilva

Dax Dasilva is the creative mind behind Lightspeed, Never Apart, and Age of Union. Founded in 2005, Lightspeed develops a cloud commerce platform used by retail and restaurant customers in over a hundred countries. The company’s mission is to bring cities and communities to life by powering independent businesses.

Lightspeed employs over 800 staff located in eight cities and has raised $292M USD from Accel Partners, iNovia Capital, Investissement Québec and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. The company went public in March 2019 on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol LSPD, becoming one of Canada’s top 10 technology IPOs.

In 2015 Dasilva also founded Never Apart, a cultural non-profit determined to bring about positive social change and unity through original programming with global reach and impact. Housed in Lightspeed’s former offices, Never Apart cultivates a diverse following and has welcomed thousands into its 12,000-square-foot space.

Helping entrepreneurs become leaders in their communities through Lightspeed’s technology and elevating artists through his work at Never Apart are fundamental to Dasilva’s philosophy. He fosters cultures of innovation, promotes diverse leadership, and values different viewpoints.

Dasilva’s debut book released in May 2019, Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker, brings leadership, spirituality and environmental guardianship together with themes of identity, diversity, cultural expression, and individual empowerment to ignite the impactful changemakers that the world needs now.

What was the inspiration behind the founding of Lightspeed? What are you hoping to accomplish through it?

When I started Lightspeed it became apparent that there was a need in the market for a beautiful, easy tool to help merchants be in control of their businesses. Traditional POS systems were clunky and expensive and with the renaissance of Apple, it was important for me to provide small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with a truly revolutionary experience.

Today, we design the most powerful cloud-based point of sale and eCommerce solution for independent businesses (retail and restaurant), offer omnichannel solutions to our customers, in-depth reporting and analytics, and innovative solutions like Lightspeed Loyalty.

SMBs are the backbone of our cities; they ignite our streets – so much of a city’s landscape comes from the independent businesses within it and I was inspired to create tools that would help them thrive.

As founder and CEO of Lightspeed, how would you describe the organization’s mission? What is Lightspeed’s main goal?

Bring cities and communities to life by powering small and medium-sized businesses.

SMBs are the backbone of our cities; they ignite our streets – so much of a city’s landscape comes from the independent businesses within it and I was inspired to create tools that would help them thrive.

What can you tell us about some of the services and products that Lightspeed offers to small and medium-sized businesses?

Lightspeed’s cloud-based commerce platform gives SMBs access to a great depth of resources to streamline all facets of their business – we’re a lot more than a point of sale system.

Lightspeed Loyalty – This technology seamlessly integrates Lightspeed’s existing suite of products while enabling merchants/ restauranteurs to engage customers, reward repeat business and build a loyal following. Lightspeed Loyalty gives retailers and restaurants the ability to create a dialogue so that first-time guests become regulars and existing customers become more engaged, all from a single platform that creates true brand ambassadors. Going beyond point and reward systems, Lightspeed Loyalty provides businesses with the tools to better communicate and target their customers in a personalized way.

Lightspeed Payments – This solution further reduces complexity by integrating payments seamlessly into the Lightspeed platform, eliminating the need to deal with a separate payments provider and the related data reconciliation, and allowing for more accurate management of their businesses.

Lightspeed Analytics –

This solution provides insights into robust inventory management, allows businesses to targets customers based on shopping histories and also better understand staffing needs.

Lightspeed Accounting –

This module creates integrations between a store/restaurant’s point of sale and accounting system. It allows businesses to synchronize automatically their bookkeeping information between the two – i.e. with Intuit QuickBooks. The numbers reported are also always 100% accurate in live time and you can generate these reports for all locations.

Lightspeed Restaurant has features such as Self-Order Menu and Kitchen Display to enhance customer experiences and communication between staff.

The IT industry is quickly growing, and more and more organizations are being launched to provide IT solutions to business owners. What are some of the strategies that you use to ensure that Lightspeed stays competitive and innovative in the industry?

The ever-changing shopping and dining habits of the population have played a key role in our product launches and roadmap.

Our customers play a huge role in informing our roadmap. We are constantly talking to customers about what’s important to them to help lead development.

We are also always evolving current offerings – i.e. we expanded Lightspeed Loyalty globally at the beginning of this year.

In your expert opinion, what is the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face and how can Lightspeed help them overcome it?

I believe the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face is being able to let go and recognizing how your role in the company will evolve.

Every single year, I reflect on what the company needs from me “at this time” – what am I contributing to the business? And that changes all the time. This has helped Lightspeed grow throughout the past 15 years.

It’s important to give others in the business ownership over certain things. That also means celebrating the wins while supporting them and helping them overcome obstacles.

On a final note, what does the future of Lightspeed look like? What are some of the plans and initiatives you’re hoping for Lightspeed to accomplish in the near future?

Lightspeed is dedicated to enhancing the customer experience in both the retail and hospitality space and is constantly making strides in this respect with new product offerings.

We are actively growing the organization and have a strong acquisition strategy that brings together people who share our company mission, creating a great global company culture and innovation for our retail and restaurant customers worldwide.

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