After a year of rapid growth as many worked from home, 1Password has hired its first chief marketing officer to continue scaling its password management business.
Raj Sarkar has been hired to head up marketing at the company, which has 80,000 business customers and more than $100 million in annual recurring revenue. Since the beginning of 2020, it’s also more than doubled its employee base to 460.
Founded in 2005, the Toronto-based business was a consumer product until founder and CEO Jeff Shiner began to see the potential of a B2B business about seven years ago. Upon launching the enterprise version in 2016, he says “to use a good Canadian term, that hockey-sticked our growth.”
Shiner says the merging of home life and work life are further accelerating the need for enterprise software, which has made protecting people on and off the clock more important.
“We started as a consumer app, and that’s what’s really helped us grow into the No. 1 enterprise password manager because it’s humans that have to use the product,” Shiner says. “And if you as a company buys a product that your people can’t use, it’s a waste.”
Prior to joining 1Password, Sarkar was the first product manager intern at Amazon Web Services “before cloud became cloud,” which allowed him to come up with a launch strategy for S3. After that, he spent several years as a marketing manager at Cisco before joining Google as a PMM. He then spent six years at Atlassian, which allowed him to see what it’s like to work in a product-led organization versus a sales-led company like Cisco.
According to Sarkar, Atlassian only built out a sales team in the past decade. And while it was focused on the expansion of the business, marketing was responsible for bringing customers into the company. That allowed him to get experience into customer acquisition strategies. (He recently wrote a blog post about marketing-led growth that illustrates his vision.)
“This has been my mantra: Enterprise marketing is going through transformation,” Sarkar says. “And I think a lot of companies forget that the buyer is a human. At the end of the day, they also binge on the Netflix shows. Enterprise marketing doesn’t need to be boring. It can be more fun and more human.”
Sarkar isn’t entirely new to 1Password. In February 2020, the company needed someone to help on the marketing side. Sarkar was introduced by Accel which led a $200 million investment in 1Password in 2019. Accel has also helped 1Password recently find and hire a chief financial officer, chief revenue officer, chief product officer and others.
According to Accel Partner Arun Mathew, the “consumerization of software” is a trend that’s been talked about for a while, but is now being seen. He compares 1Password to other companies the venture capital firm has invested in like Dropbox, Slack and Atlassian, which he says have all been “bottoms-up companies” where software is chosen by the user rather than by a company’s IT department. And, like 1Password, all have been product-led rather than marketing-led. He says that for many companies that already have some scale, CMOs often arrive and spend between six and 18 months “fixing the stakes or rehiring the team.”
“You’re usually just fixing things,” Mathew says. “With us, it’s kind of clean sheet because we haven’t really had marketing as a function, which is kind of crazy. It’s all been product-led. So the bad side is you are building and implementing a bunch of things that probably should have existed two, three, four years ago. The good part is, you get to design and implement it the way it should be. And so for the right person, it’s really exciting. You get to be in the weeds, but you get to be at the strategic level.”