Montreal-based LightSpeed POS has raised $35 million in new venture capital funding, the company announced on Wednesday.
The series B investment will allow the retail point-of-sale software developer to expand its international footprint and roll out new products, says Dax Dasilva, LightSpeed’s CEO.
Leading the investment round was Montreal-based iNovia Capital. California-based Accel Partners, which led a $30 million series A in June 2012, also participated in the round. Dasilva says he’s “really happy with this vote of confidence.”
The company currently says it has 20,000 stores using its software, which allows retailers to use their tablets, phones and computers as cash registers, but with 85 per cent in the Canada and the United States, Dasilva says he’d like to go further in international markets.
“We’re seeing a ton of demand worldwide,” Dasilva says. Europe, particularly the United Kingdom, and Asia are markets he’d like to tap into but Dasilva admits “it’s a big project.”
He says the international expansion plans call for opening new sales offices and localizing the company’s software, which also includes inventory management and analytics. It’s a similar model to the one LightSpeed took in the U.S., where it opened a sales office, in New York City, in March 2013.
The company will also the investment to support the launch of an integrated payments system. Currently, retailers using LightSpeed’s software as their point-of-sale system have to “pair” it with a third-party’s payment system in order to process purchases made with debit and credit cards or online.
“We want to bring everything in-house,” says Dasilva. “Everything on one platform.”
The payments system will be provided through a partnership with Element Payment Services, a subsidiary of Ohio-based payments processor Vantiv.
Dasilva says the recently announced launch of Apple Pay will be a good thing for LightSpeed.
“This is completely in-line with our payments platform,” he says. “They’re going to be providing a wallet.”
In, fact it may even make things easier.
“They’re basically offering a development platform,” Dasilva says.
Adding payments processing will make it easier for customers to manage cash-flow, Dasilva says, and simplify things because they won’t have to set up separate relationships with other companies.
While there are some e-commerce startups expanding into the retail point-of-sale space, Dasilva says he’s not worried about the competition because “we’re brick and mortar first.” And he says he’s a big believer in brick-and-mortar retail.
“The story of a brand is best told in 3D,” Dasilva says, pointing to companies like Frank & Oak, the online fashion retailer that has opened a storefront location in Montreal, and Apple which has also had strong sales from its physical retail locations.
“We still believe that people want to go shopping,” Dasilva says. “Stores need to become a destination.”
And, with increased competition from online retailers and rising commercial rents in many major cities, Dasilva says “analytics are more important than ever,” so that retailers have “the right product for the customer when they walk in the door.”