Some 14 years after it was founded and with no external funding taken in during that time, 1Password has finally succumbed to the charms - and $200m in cash - of venture cap biz Accel.
1Password was founded by Dave Teare along with Roustem Karimov in 2005 and he noted the shock the decision may cause.
"As a completely bootstrapped company that has never taken a dime of outside investment, this announcement may come as a bit of a surprise," he wrote on Medium.
Teare said staff numbers have now grown to 174 but that the "TODO list has been growing, and the growth rate of our list has been accelerating". Exactly what that list contains is not stated, but he did say that privacy and security are the two areas of focus.
Arun Mathew and Ethan Chou at Accel said that the investment in 1Password is "our largest initial investment in any company in our more than 35-year history", claiming that "1Password's Enterprise Password Management solution is the critical third pillar of the enterprise identity stack."
Single sign-on is insufficient, they said, because it does not integrate with all applications, and multi-factor authentication "creates an additional layer of friction for users". They pointed to 1Password's work on SCIM (System for Cross-domain Identity Management) bridges as evidence of the company's innovation. SCIM is a standard API for exchanging user identities between systems and is supported by identity providers including Azure Active Directory and Okta.
Not everyone is impressed with the deal. David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails and a vocal opponent of venture funding, commented on Twitter: "I fully expect them to go to shit. 1PW now need to become a many billion-dollar company OR DIE TRYING. That usually leads to desperate/shitty decisions."
Password leakage and successful phishing attacks remain a huge problem in the industry, suggesting that there remains scope for innovation, but the challenge for 1Password will be growing its enterprise business, since password management alone is thoroughly commoditised. ®