Toronto-based password management app 1Password has hired its first chief legal officer (CLO), bringing former Shopify VP and Assistant General Counsel Erin Zipes into the startup’s fold.
Zipes has spent nearly two decades serving in legal leadership positions at law firms and in-house, including seven years at Ottawa e-commerce giant Shopify where she helped lead the company through its initial public offering (IPO). She is also a founding partner of Backbone Angels, which invested in 1Password’s Hollywood star-studded Series C financing.
Over the past year, 1Password has closed two massive funding rounds, expanded its headcount to nearly 800, and doubled the size of its exec team.
1Password CEO Jeff Shiner said Zipes’ experience leading Shopify through its IPO and her commitment to diversity “will be essential” to the company’s growth trajectory.
With the addition of Zipes, 1Password has doubled the size of its C-suite over the past year. It is a year that also saw the company close two massive funding rounds and expand its headcount to almost 800, amid 70 percent year-over-year growth on the B2B side of its business.
While Shiner has been non-committal on whether 1Password’s future will involve an IPO, the past couple of years in Canadian tech have shown that it’s a strong possibility for a company of 1Password’s size and growth. Certainly, bringing on experienced executives, most recently Zipes, means 1Password is better equipped to make the move when the time is right.
“Definitely, my skill set would come in handy for that,” Zipes told BetaKit in an interview. “If the time is right, [an IPO] could be something in [1Password’s] future. But we’re just really focused on the growth and the mission.”
Including Zipes, 1Password has added four new executives to its now 50 percent female C-suite over the past year. The company has hired: its first chief people officer in Katya Laviolette, previously of SSENSE, its first chief marketing officer—Google and Atlassian alum Raj Sarkar; and its first chief technology officer, Pedro Canahuati, former Facebook VP of security and engineering.
“When you have growth ambitions, post-Series C … you require certain levels of skill in certain functions,” Laviolette told BetaKit. She added that 1Password “would be ready for a number of options by having the skills that we’ve acquired today,” be it an IPO or another path.
1Password closed about $744 million CAD in Series C funding earlier this year in what the startup claimed was the largest venture capital raise by a Canadian company to date. The round gave 1Password an $8.6 billion CAD valuation—making the password management firm one of Canada’s most valuable tech companies.
After graduating from McGill University’s law program, Zipes began her career on Bay Street working for Stikeman Elliott LLP and Gowlings, and spent some time at Nordion before switching over to Shopify in 2014. At Shopify, she helped build and scale the company’s corporate legal team to support its growth, while also guiding Shopify through major business transactions, from acquisitions to an IPO.
“I was really hoping to be a [general counsel] and CLO, was really hoping to get the opportunity to once again scale out a legal team, but this time, in that lead spot and not as the number two as I was at Shopify,” said Zipes, in regards to why she joined 1Password.
In addition to being a 1Password investor, Zipes is also a long-time 1Password user, both in her professional and personal life, describing herself as “committed to the [company’s] mission and vision.” She called the chance to join a Canadian tech company like 1Password at this stage in its development “an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Founded in 2005, 1Password provides a password management and credentials security platform to individuals and businesses, aiming to ease the tension between online security and convenience. The company, which competes with firms like LastPass and NordPass, got its start as a consumer password management app, before expanding into serving businesses.
Today, 1Password caters to millions of individuals and families across the world, and serves over 100,000 businesses, including Shopify, IBM, Slack, Snowflake, and Under Armour.
Near the end of her time at Shopify, Zipes said she had transitioned to being “more of a leader than anything,” and expressed excitement about the chance to return to being a lawyer. “I’m a lawyer that likes being a lawyer,” she said. “I didn’t go to law school to make my mom happy or anything like that, so I’m super happy to get the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and dig in again.”
Feature image of Erin Zipes, courtesy 1Password.