June 18, 2012, 3:35 PM

LightSpeed gets $30 million in funding

The software company provides point of sale systems for Apple’s iPad.

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LightSpeed, a software company that provides technology for linking Apple Inc. mobile devices with retail point of sale and store management systems, has received $30 million from venture capital firm Accel Partners.

LightSpeed, founded in 2005 in Montreal by CEO Dax Dasilva, develops and sells retail management software for use on Apple’s iPads and iPhones as well as on Mac computers. The company says its software is used in more than 10,000 retail stores in more than 30 countries.

Among LightSpeed’s latest offerings is a point of sale system for the iPad that integrates with a retailer’s inventory management system to show product details and inventory availability.

LightSpeed says it plans to use its new capital, which is its first round of institutional funding, to build out its product portfolio, expand its 50-person workforce and grow in international markets. “With our new capital resources and partners at Accel, we will further enhance our products and solutions that help virtually any store chain, anywhere in the world, to move ahead of the curve in the digital retail revolution and embrace the needs of today’s shoppers,” Dasilva says.

Ryan Sweeney, a partner at Accel who will join the LightSpeed board, says Accel believes the combination of LightSpeed’s software and the popularity of Apple’s products will “spark growth in retail.”

LightSpeed was one of the first companies to build a point of sale system for Apple’s Mac operating system, says Nikki Baird, managing partner with research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research LLC. “It was scaled to work mostly for boutiques, and they have a good customer base in smaller retailers with one to two locations.”

Brian Walker, a vice president and retail technology analyst at Forrester Research Inc., adds that LightSpeed’s growth plans come at a time when a fledgling market for mobile point of sale systems in stores is on the verge of strong growth. “The mobile POS market is still small but growing quickly,” he says.

Forrester analyst Peter Sheldon notes that LightSpeed has two main competitors in the mobile POS space: VeriFone GlobalBay, a unit of POS terminal maker VeriFone Systems Inc., and Starmount Inc. Each of these three vendors offers mobile POS technology designed to support payment card purchasing, barcode scanning and integrating with back-end inventory systems, Sheldon says. He adds that, compared with mobile POS technology offered by other companies, the web-based technology from LightSpeed, VeriFone GlobalBay and Starmount can more quickly integrate with legacy store POS and e-commerce platforms from multiple vendors.

Adds Baird,  “It wasn't that much of a stretch for LightSpeed to move to iPad given their longer history with Apple in general, but I'd say that their differentiation is more through who they target as customers than through unique capabilities that they offer in functionality.”

Rich Lesperance, head of digital marketing at Walgreen Co., No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will speak on mobile commerce at the Mobile Marketing & Commerce Forum in October in a session titled “The local landscape: A look inside a mobile mainstay.”




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