Former Top Shopify Lawyer Joins 1Password as First Legal Chief

1Password, a digital privacy and security company valued at about $6.8 billion earlier this year, has hired Erin Zipes to be its first chief legal officer.

Zipes was an associate general counsel and corporate secretary at Shopify Inc., which last summer named her its interim head of legal. She left after more than seven years at the e-commerce company in December.

She said she’s been a longtime customer of 1Password, which provides digital security services to companies including Shopify and IBM Corp. Her top focus will be recruiting legal talent after the business expanded during the coronavirus pandemic, with customers seeking to protect employees working from home.

Zipes’ hire follows 1Password’s $620 million Series C fundraising round in January that helped the password management platform secure its almost $7 billion valuation. The Toronto-based business, founded in 2005, said the fundraising round was the largest ever by a Canadian company.

Among investors in 1Password are General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra and Robert Iger, former chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Co.

Others behind the company’s most recent fundraising round are celebrity investors such as Ashton Kutcher, Chris Evans, Justin Timberlake, Matthew McConaughey, Robert Downey Jr., Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, and Trevor Noah.

Zipes declined to discuss which law firm or firms have been advising 1Password on its fundraising efforts.

Also investing in 1Password was Backbone Angels, a collective that Zipes and other former Shopify executives launched last year to support Black, Indigenous, and women of color-led companies, according to a statement from the group.

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Zipes said will remain involved with Backbone in her free time.

“I take a lot of pride in being able to invest in, support, and empower underrepresented groups, including women and non-binary founders,” she said. “My co-founders and I are angel investing through Backbone with our own money.”

Backbone doesn’t take any outside capital, which Zipes said gives it the “freedom and flexibility” to make its own decisions when it comes to how much capital and time to invest. Other members of the collective, some of whom are parents, are also juggling other full-time jobs, she said.

Zipes started at 1Password two weeks ago, working from her hometown in Ottawa, where she and her family returned a dozen years ago after she started her career as an associate at Stikeman Elliott in Toronto.

“My husband and I knew the move back to Ottawa would be better for our kids but expected our careers may take a hit—luckily that didn’t end up being the case for either of us,” she said.

1Password is looking to build out its in-house law department, which is currently at four lawyers, including general counsel Meenakshi Lakhanpal.

“We’ve just posted three new roles and expect to continue growing for the foreseeable future,” Zipes said. “To put our growth trajectory into perspective, 1Password has grown its team by over 300% over the last 24 months to more than 800 employees, and so our legal team needs to continue to scale to support the company’s needs.”

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