AWARD SPOTLIGHT: CDPQ winner of the 2020 VC Regional Impact Award for Eastern Canada for Lightspeed POS
Congratulations to CDPQ for winning the 2020 VC Private Capital Regional Impact Award for Eastern Ontario for Lightspeed POS. The 2020 CVCA Awards, sponsored by HarbourVest Partners Canada, will be announced each day June 8 – June 12, 2020 on social media beginning at 11am ET.
Fifteen years after it was founded, and a year after going public, Lightspeed POS Inc. is being celebrated as one of Quebec’s most successful technology companies and a shining example of what’s possible when you combine hard work with community spirit and support.
Lightspeed founder and CEO Dax Dasilva, and key investor Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ), are confident the Montreal-based company’s success will help pave the way for other technology start-ups in the province.
Lightspeed, which went public in March 2019 and now has a market cap of about $3B, provides point-of-sale, cloud-based services for restaurants and retailers in over 100 countries. It has more than 1,100 employees, about half of which are in Montreal and the rest across its 14 global offices in cities such as Amsterdam and Sydney. The staff has expanded as a result of both organic and acquisition growth over the past 15 years.
Dasilva says the company’s diversity and the culture of innovation in Quebec are partially to thank for Lightspeed’s expansion, including its ability to successfully adapt its platform in other countries and cultures.
“Montreal is a great city from which to build an international company,” says Dasilva. “This is a city and province that puts a priority on culture and invests in culture and creativity. It’s part of the fabric of our society here. Great culture and great creativity breed innovation and great innovation breed great technology.”
Since the company was founded in 2005, Dasilva says Lightspeed has fostered a culture of diversity and inclusion.
“We grew out of a belief that everyone in the company would be given an equal opportunity to be heard,” he says. “Diversity and inclusion were part of the company’s ethos and became part of our culture. That culture became even more important as we acquired companies all around the world and brought different cultures to the table.”
He likes to say that Lightspeed is “infused with culture just as much as code.”
Dasilva believes its diversity and community-minded culture helps make it stronger.
“Whether it’s problem-solving for business challenges or finding the best way to approach opportunities, when you have multiple perspectives at the table, you come up with richer solutions,” he says. “It doesn’t come without work or some people giving up their seat at times. It’s something we have to be conscious of as we continue to grow.”
Thomas Birch, CDPQ’s global managing director, Venture Capital and Technology, says the company’s success to date has inspired and empowered other tech start-ups in the province and across Canada. It has also put Montreal on the map as a place for investors to seek out their next deal.
“Success breeds more success and will bring more energy to other tech companies in Quebec and across Canada,” says Birch, whose firm has been a backer of Lightspeed since 2015.
Birch describes Dasilva as “a pillar of the community” in Montreal and credits him and the management team for building a strong staff to help expand the business.
Lightspeed and CDPQ have been awarded the CVCA’s Regional Impact Award, Eastern Canada.
Lightspeed has also been supporting its community during the COVID-19 crisis, both in Montreal and around the world. The company quickly enabled employees to work from home, which Dasilva says has been great for employees and productivity during the challenging period.
The company also launched the #LightspeedLocal campaign, which reimburses employees up to $500 in local currency on purchases made from any Lightspeed retail or restaurant customer.
“Even while practicing social distancing, we can shop locally and encourage others to join us in our mission,” the company stated.
Lightspeed has also offered its customers some relief during these difficult times by providing discounted access to its omnichannel solutions. It also offered some free services for its customers for three months during the height of the pandemic.