First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Dax Dasilva: I’m very thankful that my family and I have been keeping well during the pandemic. My parents and sister live in British Columbia, Canada but we continue to keep in close contact.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined Lightspeed
Dax Dasilva: I founded Lightspeed in 2005, which is a cloud commerce platform used by retail and restaurant customers in over 100 countries. When I started Lightspeed, it became apparent that there was a need in the market for a well-designed, easy tool to help merchants be in control of their businesses. From the beginning, it has been about much more than transactions; we set out to help entrepreneurs work smarter, make data-driven decisions, and create the best possible experience for their customers. That philosophy still runs through everything that we do. It is our mission to bring cities and communities to life by powering small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
In 2015, I 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. It’s important to me to help entrepreneurs become leaders in their communities through Lightspeed’s technology and to elevate artists through my work at Never Apart. In all my work, I aim to foster cultures of innovation and promote diverse leadership.
Lastly, I debuted a book in May 2019, Age of Union: Igniting the Changemaker. This 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.
How does Lightspeed innovate?
Dax Dasilva: 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 continue monitoring the preferences and expectations of the modern shopper/diner. This is always evolving so we keep open dialogue with our Lightspeed merchants and restauranteurs to gain insight into the behaviour of their customers.
Our customers also rely on us for support. With this in mind, we quickly developed product innovations during the pandemic that would help SMBs adapt to changing business models. For example, we launched new eCommerce features like Multi-Location Inventory and Lightspeed Shipping to help retailers improve the digital experience they are offering. In addition, we are also sharing industry knowledge through an online resource guide that serves to protect SMBs during COVID-19.
Overall, we as a company foster a culture of inclusivity that allows creativity and innovation to thrive. With varied seats at the table, we create opportunities for diverse perspectives to contribute to effective product development.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Dax Dasilva: We are impressed with the agility of SMBs using Lightspeed and the digital transformation of their businesses. Many are implementing creative solutions to develop new revenue streams. For example, top ready-to-wear boutique, Ruti, started operating with virtual consultations by appointment. Another boutique, Off the Hook, created a limited-edition online capsule collection aptly titled “Stay Home: 2020”.
We have also launched many of our own initiatives to support small businesses. Lightspeed rolled out a #LightspeedLocal initiative that engages company employees to shop locally and support small businesses in our network. The program reimburses all global employees up to $500 in local currency on purchases made from any Lightspeed retail or restaurant customer. A company Slack channel was created shortly after and it has since become a true hub as our employees exchange hundreds of hugely positive messages about their experiences. Through #LightspeedLocal social sharing, employees are also publicly championing our retail and restaurant customers.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Dax Dasilva: Every year, I reflect on what the company needs from me “at this time.” In order to properly scale a company, it’s important to share responsibilities. I’ve had to teach myself how to constantly be a support for my team, while also giving them ownership and letting them come to me when they need support. Giving them ownership helps them become better versions of themselves with a great sense of accountability.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Lightspeed in the future?
Dax Dasilva: To deal with stress and anxiety, and also maintain a sense of balance in my life, I meditate every day. I believe I am spiritual at my core, which gives me a lot of strength and helps me face challenges that come with running a business.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dax Dasilva: As a pioneer in omnichannel technology, Lightspeed is constantly one step ahead with the technology necessary for the success of our customers. Lightspeed differentiates through our ability to serve complex SMBs. From bicycle stores with high, complex inventory to pet stores and apparel boutiques tracking customer preferences. Our merchants require a cloud-based solution that serves all of their needs and simplifies day-to-day operations. In the hospitality industry, we’re helping restauranteurs with the tools to remain innovative and meet their customers where they are, whether in the restaurant, on the patio, or at home.