Lightspeed Commerce has appointed Google veteran and former executive Ryan Tabone as chief product and technology officer (CPTO), as the Montréal-based commerce tech firm preps for its next stage of growth.
During his 15-year tenure at Google, Tabone held a number of different roles, serving as a founding member of the team that built the Chromebook, overseeing the development of G Suite and Google Finance, and advising Google’s other bets through Google X and Google Ventures.
Lightspeed CEO JP Chauvet noted Tabone’s experience with Google Pay in particular is “ultra-relevant” to what Lightspeed is doing today.
After helping lead Google Pay and Google Finance as VP and general manager from 2018 to 2021, Tabone has now been tasked with guiding Lightspeed’s product and tech roadmap as the company looks to better connect stores with suppliers and consumers and grow its financial services capabilities.
“We want to do way more in financial services,” Lightspeed CEO JP Chauvet told BetaKit in an interview, noting that Tabone’s experience with Google Pay in particular is “ultra-relevant” to what Lightspeed is doing today.
Tabone’s hire comes as Lightspeed shifts its focus away from acquisitions and integrations towards innovating to address customers’ biggest challenges today, including with cash flow and supply chain management. The new CPTO also stands to play an important role in the growth of Lightspeed Payments, which the company sees as an important pillar on its path to profitability. Chauvet previously described the June launch of Lightspeed B2B—the firm’s new supplier network—as the “last step” in Lightspeed’s plan to turn its bevy of acquisitions into new products.
“We’ve been [trying to find] the right balance between somebody who’s not too old school and someone who has relevant experience, and I think the match [with Tabone] is just fabulous,” said Chauvet.
Founded in 2005, Lightspeed provides cloud-based commerce and point-of-sale (POS) software to 163,000 restaurants, retailers, and hospitality providers. The acquisitive retail tech firm, which trades on the TSX and NYSE as ‘LSPD,’ has teams across North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region that cater to businesses in over 100 countries.
Tabone is assuming the vacant CPTO role. The position was last held by Jim Texier, Lightspeed’s former chief technology and product officer, who left the company in August 2021 after spending two years in the role to become partner and CTO at Framework Venture Partners.
Guillaume Jacquet, ChronoGolf founder who joined Lightspeed following 2019 acquisition, most recently served as company’s EVP of product and technology, but left Lightspeed in July to launch his own startup, Vasco.
In addition to Tabone, Lightspeed has made a number of alterations to its executive team this calendar year, moving CFO Brandon Nussey to COO, bringing on Asha Bakshani as CFO, and hiring alum Rani Hammond as chief people officer. Speaking to these changes, Chauvet said, “you’ve got to equip yourself with leaders that have been where you’re heading.”
Most notably, Chauvet himself took over for founding CEO Dax Dasilva in early 2022, after Lightspeed’s share price took a steep fall following short-seller attacks, low revenue guidance, and general tech stock malaise.
Chauvet described the addition of Tabone as a “big hire” for Lightspeed. “We now have a very robust executive team,” he added. “I think we were probably a bit light on the technical side, and [Tabone is] just what we need.”
Despite Tabone’s hire, Lightspeed is not yet finished adjusting its C-suite. The firm is currently seeking a chief marketing officer, which Chauvet called the “last big piece” of the company’s executive team.
Lightspeed generated better than expected results in fiscal Q1, as e-commerce growth decelerated and demand for in-person shopping rebounded. Chauvet attributed part of the firm’s recent performance to its release of a new hospitality product and retail product over the past six months.
The CEO also noted that the return to brick-and-mortar retail has played to Lightspeed’s strengths. “We did well during COVID-19, but 90 percent of our [gross merchandise volume] is physical retailers and restaurants that are selling in the real world,” he added.
Going forward, Lightspeed and commerce more broadly face a number of potential headwinds, from rising inflation and interest rates, to continued supply chain issues and the prospect of a recession.
“When the world is firing, we are hiring.”
-JP Chauvet, Lightspeed
Despite these conditions, Chauvet believes Lightspeed is positioned “very well” to navigate this environment. The CEO believes these conditions will lead to “a moment in time” that will force stores to abandon legacy systems, which he described as ill-equipped to handle some of the headwinds sellers face today.
Chauvet added that Lightspeed is “gearing for growth,” highlighting that the firm presently has 320 open positions. “When the world is firing, we are hiring,” he said. “We are really in a position where we need just more of everything, because we are seeing demand.”
According to Chauvet, physical retail these days is more complex than pre-pandemic, as stores are returning to selling in person while continuing to operate their digital channels. This means clients need more people than before to do their jobs, amid a tough hiring market, rising labour costs, and a potential recession. The CEO believes these conditions offer Lightspeed an opportunity to thrive.
“One thing I know about our industry is when it gets tough, that’s the forcing factor to change how you work,” said Chauvet. “I do think this might be a moment in time where you’ll see a really strong acceleration in the physical world of platforms like ours.”
Feature image courtesy Lightspeed.