Startup Grind Ottawa:
Interview with Dax DaSilva,
Dax was named Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by Ernst & Young Canada, the same year his company scored a $30-million investment from Accel Partners of Palo Alto, Calif., one of the early backers of Facebook Inc. They recently raised a $35-million Series B round from those same partners. His company boasts 20,000 customers and has grown from 50 employees in 2011 to 200 now, processing $7.5B in annual transactions with offices in New York, Ottawa, Silicon Valley, and Sydney, Australia. Some of the most important points Dax had to share with us about business, retail, e-commerce and startups included:
- Don’t be afraid to charge for your product (and then deliver that value). Revenue from sales is important because it can enable you to grow and hire faster.
- Tradeshows and partnerships are a great way to grow. Mac World Expo enabled Lightspeed to sell to 150 independent dealers. These initial customers funded the companies growth.
- Lightspeed had several years of growth and sales before taking on VC to learn about their identity and market.
- Focus on your target audience – really understand their needs and wants. Lightspeed is focused on independent retailers, all product features are developed for them, not based on tech industry trends and new technologies.
- As a founder & team you need to have a degree of humility and realize that the company has different needs at different time. Some people are able to grow with the company and others don’t.