Today’s Notable Young Professional is Dax Dasilva, CEO and founder of cloud-based point-of-sale system, Lightspeed. I think what makes Dax and his company notable is the fact that he is wholeheartedly dedicated to disrupting the payment transaction industry and not accepting the status-quo. I love that. And it’s clearly working – Lightspeed processes more than $15 billion in transactions annually and has over 40,000 customers using the product. I’d say that’s pretty damn notable, wouldn’t you?
We caught up with the Montreal native to find out what inspires him and what advice he would share with other young professionals…
– Julian Brass, founder, Notable
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
Empower a global team to innovate the most powerful cloud-based POS and eCommerce solution for independent retailers and restaurants.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I’ve always been interested in technology and began coding at 13. At the same time, I was involved with the arts and had a passion for design. I was inspired to launch Lightspeed in 2005 after seeing that bringing intuitive retail software to the Mac could give small businesses the power to thrive. Lightspeed is commerce made simple. The user-friendly design of our platform allows independent businesses to run seamlessly both online and offline. The company started 11 years ago in a small office space in Montreal with just four employees. Today, we have over 500 employees in offices around the world. Our tools simplify the day-to-day realities when managing a retail store, online business, or restaurant. I firmly believe that commerce belongs to everyone. Lightspeed helps fuel the dreams of entrepreneurs, and that truly helps my team see value in what we are doing. We are a company that is infused with culture just as much as code.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
It has to be when we moved Lightspeed’s headquarters to Gare Viger in Old Montreal, a 117-year-old castle-like heritage building that once housed a luxury railway hotel. It’s exciting to see your company expand beyond its original space, and land in a place that allows all employees to work in a collaborative and creative environment.
Launching our omnichannel system was also a milestone for Lightspeed. Omnichannel links brick and mortar stores with an online presence. Our retailers can now serve their clients wherever they are, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. We recently introduced omnichannel in Europe as well, which was an incredible achievement.
4. Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years, 20 years?
In five years, I see myself further expanding Lightspeed’s global presence. We believe that our point of sale and eCommerce tools help bring city streets to life, and alongside our 40,000 customers, we will continue to innovate and help them grow their businesses. Some of our notable customers now include DASH, Malin & Goetz, TOMS, and Lacoste. Personal growth as a leader is also essential for me. Leading teams internationally prompts the need for adaptability and creativity, recognizing that not everyone works in the same way. Over 10-20 years, my goal would be to educate up-and-coming thought leaders and entrepreneurs on how to find their own success.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Use new technology and innovations to their fullest. Systems such as Lightspeed allow young professionals and entrepreneurs to focus on their area of business, be it retail, culinary, fashion, art, or anything they are passionate about. Investing in independent businesses and emerging entrepreneurs is at the heart of Lightspeed. If you’re starting your own business, trust in your ideas and invest in a supportive team. If you’ve joined a company, own your role and embrace responsibility, use your talents to create a working dynamic. If you work in a client-facing industry, always put your customers first. This approach has been essential to the growing success of Lightspeed.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
Yes, I’m the founder of Never Apart, a non-profit arts organization with a mission to promote community and diversity through arts and culture. When Lightspeed moved offices, we converted the old space into a cultural hub in Montreal. The building is a 12,000 square foot gallery space with seasonal exhibitions, two permanent installations
(the Sun Room and the Moon Room), a monthly online magazine, and a vinyl archive of over 10,000 records. Never Apart represents inclusivity for all groups and through its programming, we can promote various artists, thought leaders, and causes. It’s energizing being able to merge the worlds of tech and the arts by having both Lightspeed and Never Apart as projects.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The retail landscape has changed dramatically since I founded Lightspeed. I learned the importance of adaptability and consistently remaining ahead of the curve in the early days of the company. I tried to immerse myself in the industry as much as possible, using that knowledge to drive the company forward and innovate.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
To me, “notable” means having earned respect for your accomplishments, being a true thought leader in your industry, and guiding others to reach their highest potential, while actively improving the way people work and live.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I really enjoy the food and the atmosphere at Agrikol in Montreal. It’s a delicious feel-good restaurant, which serves Haitian food (and of course great cocktails).
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Politico.com. Most played song would be Drag by Day Wave.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities to visit. It’s culturally dynamic, youthful and has an incredible vibe. We also chose Amsterdam as the European headquarters for Lightspeed.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
When I miss the events at Never Apart because of my busy travel schedule.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
Renovations, though I’m addicted. And always a good move to spend on art.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success for me from a work perspective is constantly remaining ahead of the curve and remaining consistently on the hunt for new ideas. As a leader, I am always reminding my team to be at the height of innovation. Personal success comes from continuing to grow as a leader, travel, and experience new things.