Startup Grind Ottawa:
Interview with Dax DaSilva,
CEO, Lightspeed

On February 26, 2015, Startup Grind Ottawa had the pleasure of hosting Dax Dasilva, the founder and CEO of Lightspeed at Microsoft Canada’s offices downtown.

The Interview

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.
You can watch the full video of the event here. Many thanks to Dax Dasilva for making the trip to be with us. Thanks to Marc Gagne, Microsoft and Bizspark for hosting us in their office. Finally, thanks as always to Robert Decher from RDV Productions for the recording of Startup Grind Ottawa, and to Jason Connell for helping with setup.

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