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Lightspeed looking to grow sales in Europe and Australia post-$276-million IPO

Lightspeed CEO Dax Dasilva at the company's IPO on March 8, 2019. @LightspeedHQ | Twitter
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Lightspeed is looking to sell more in Europe and Australia following its $276-million initial public offering in March.

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The Montreal-based firm, which sells point-of-sale software to restaurant and retail clients, has repeatedly cited international expansion as core to its growth strategy, but has declined to specify which countries it’s looking to grow in.

An analysis by The Logic of 77 open job positions and 43 recent hires, however, details Lightspeed’s expansion plans for Australia, and show which countries in Europe it hopes to compete in.

Talking Point

Lightspeed has 77 open jobs, most of which are for sales and marketing roles. The company is staffing up in Europe and Australia as it looks to grow international sales, a key part of its growth strategy.

Since going public on the Toronto Stock Exchange on March 8, Lightspeed’s stock has risen 26 per cent.

Adding to the company’s sales force was part of Lightspeed’s pitch to investors before the IPO. The company increased headcount in its sales and marketing organization by almost a quarter between 2016 and 2018, from 191 employees to 237, according to its prospectus. “We plan to continue to expand our direct sales force, both domestically and internationally, and to increase the number of our sales professionals,” it says. The company has over 700 employees in total.

Lightspeed’s product is currently available in English, French, Spanish and Dutch. The company is hiring sales staff in London; Amsterdam; and Ghent, Belgium that speak those languages, but is also looking to recruit people fluent in two other languages: German and Flemish.

Belgium and the Netherlands are two of Lightspeed’s bigger markets. In the last nine months of 2018, 14.8 per cent of the company’s $56.2 million in sales were to customers in the Netherlands, and 8.1 per cent to those in Belgium. North America still makes up more than two-thirds of revenue, however, with 55.0 per cent in the U.S. and 11.4 per cent in Canada.

The firm is also hiring for a London-based partner manager of channel sales, and recently posted ads for two junior sales roles and a general sales manager in the U.K.

“Lightspeed is seeking its full-time Sales Manager to lead our Sales team in London. Reporting to the VP of Sales, this role is responsible for owning revenue generation in the UK market through the delivery of the Business Development team,” according to the manager job description.

Jerome Laredo, Lightspeed’s senior vice-president of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia, is based in London and in Amsterdam. Laredo previously held sales roles at Atex, a digital media software company, and Nstein Technologies, a Canadian search company acquired by OpenText in 2009. The company currently has offices in Canada, the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, the U.K. and Australia. The last two offices are much smaller than the others, however. As of March, Lightspeed had 15 employees in the U.K. and four in Australia.

London isn’t the only market Lightspeed is looking to expand in. In April, the company hired Stefan Altersberger, a former Apple engineer, as a partner manager for EMEA. His LinkedIn profile states the company is “currently looking into potential partnerships to grow in the EMEA region.”

Bradley Grill, director of public relations at Lightspeed, declined to comment on which countries the company is looking to expand to.

“Lightspeed already sells in France and Germany, and our offices in Amsterdam, Ghent and London can field requests from other parts of Europe,” said Grill.

Lightspeed recently posted an ad for a business development representative in Australia.

Reporting to the Regional Sales Manager, this role is responsible for driving revenue generation,” read the job description.

Lightspeed has made 43 hires in the past 90 days, according to LinkedIn data. More than half—24—were in Montreal. The company hired four new employees in Belgium, which has become a hub for Lightspeed since it acquired Belgium-based POSIOS in 2014; and eight in Amsterdam, where Lightspeed acquired e-commerce company SEOshop in 2015.

Fifteen of the recent hires have been in sales roles. The company appears set to continue that sales focus: 45 of the open positions are in sales or marketing roles.

The POSIOS platform catered to food and beverage establishments, and it became Lightspeed Restaurant, the company’s POS solution for eateries. POSIOS CEO Zhong Xu joined the company as director of hospitality, based in Ghent; he left the company in 2018 to co-found Deliverect, which integrates food delivery service orders into restaurant POS systems.

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Lightspeed’s competitors are also gearing up to expand. On March 29, three weeks after Lightspeed went public, major rival Toast, a Boston-based restaurant-management software company, raised US$250 million. Toast reportedly plans to use some of the new capital to expand outside the U.S. It has more than 1,400 employees, including a small engineering office in Ireland.

Lightspeed has secured its own capital influx. Four days after Toast’s raise, Lightspeed announced a loan of US$55 million from CIBC, which the bank said would “support strategic acquisitions and fuel the Company’s multi-faceted growth strategy.”

With files from Jessica Galang