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SpotOn Restaurant Payments Software Company Hires Legal Chief

Oct. 19, 2020, 9:00 AM

SpotOn Transact LLC, a software startup building a payments system for the struggling restaurant industry, has brought on Michelle Howland Zmugg to serve as its first-ever general counsel.

A SpotOn spokeswoman said Zmugg joined the San Francisco-based company Sept. 21. Zmugg was most recently an employment litigation partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Zmugg joined SpotOn the same month it raised $60 million in a Series C fundraising round, which followed its August acquisition of reservation management company SeatNinja Inc. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius advised SpotOn on both of those matters, said Lauren Tascan, a company spokeswoman.

SpotOn’s hire of Zmugg comes as the U.S. restaurant sector struggles from coronavirus pandemic-induced business closures and limits on indoor dining. SpotOn says its technology can help restaurants adjust to Covid-19 restrictions by connecting kitchens with online food ordering platforms.

Zmugg didn’t respond to a request for comment about her new role at SpotOn, which also hopes to provide its payment services to small- and medium-sized businesses. She’s one of several lawyers appointed in recent weeks to lead corporate legal departments in the software space.

Other companies making legal group moves include Snowflake Inc., Paycor Inc., Docupace Technologies Inc., Ontic Technologies Inc., Inc., and Syntellis Performance Solutions LLC.

Snowflake’s Shuffle

Snowflake, a cloud-data software company whose initial public offering last month was a boon for investors and its lawyers at Cooley, has a new general counsel in Derk Lupinek.

Lupinek, a former of counsel at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, joined San Mateo, Calif.-based Snowflake late last year as a deputy general counsel for corporate after spending nearly three years as a vice president of legal for corporate, securities, and mergers and acquisitions at ServiceNow Inc.

In August, Lupinek took over as Snowflake’s top lawyer. He didn’t respond to a request for comment about his new job, which was disclosed by Snowflake in securities filings ahead of its IPO.

Lupinek replaced Snowflake’s previous general counsel Robert Specker, a fellow former in-house colleague at ServiceNow, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based software company that went public in 2012. Cooley, which advised Snowflake on its IPO, counseled the underwriters on ServiceNow’s listing.

Specker spent almost eight years as ServiceNow’s general counsel before joining Snowflake in early 2019. He left this past May, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Specker and Margaretta Smith, who was replaced by Specker, didn’t respond to requests for comment. Smith, is now legal chief for Contentful Inc., a content management startup that raised $80 million from investors in June.

In-House Changes

Other software companies have also made recent hires to bolster their in-house legal shops.

Ontic, an Austin, Texas-based intelligence software provider, said Oct. 15 it hired its first-ever chief legal officer Scott Shepherd and appointed former Walmart Inc. general counsel Thomas Mars to its board. Shepherd spent the past year as legal chief for ScaleFactor Inc., a bookkeeping startup that suspended operations in June. He was previously general counsel for artificial intelligence company Lucid Holdings LLC and software startup Khoros LLC., a Wilmington, Del.-based software and technical support company, shook up its C-suite Oct. 14, adding Startek Inc. global chief legal and compliance officer Doug Tackett as its legal chief., which makes anti-malware software and provides information technology services to small businesses, didn’t respond to a request for comment about the status of general counsel Olivia Mirzoyev. Nor did Mirzoyev, who has held the role since 2018.

Paycor Inc., a Cincinnati-based human resources and payroll software company, announced Oct. 13 its recruitment of Rewards Network Inc. chief legal and people officer Alice Geene as its top lawyer. Geene previously served as general counsel at cyber and information security provider Trustwave Holdings Inc. and interim legal chief for online travel company Orbitz Worldwide Inc. She takes over from Paycor’s A. Christopher Ducanes, who didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Docupace, a Los Angeles-based provider of cloud-based fintech digital operations software, said Oct. 12 it has added general counsel and chief legal officer Kevin Armstrong, who spent the past year as compliance chief for a subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc. Docupace was sold in April by former private equity owners TVC Capital LLC and Palisades Growth Capital LLC to San Francisco-based FTV Capital.

Palantir Technologies Inc., a Peter Thiel-backed data analytics software company that went public in September, picked up Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld senior counsel Amanda Kane Rapp this month as a legal counsel in Washington.

Syntellis, an enterprise performance management software company spun-off in June from consulting firm Kaufman Hall & Associates LLC, hired Kirkland & Ellis technology and intellectual property transactions partner Matthew Colman as general counsel in September. Colman joined Chicago-based Syntellis after it received an investment from a pair of private equity firms. Kirkland advised Syntellis and Kaufman Hall on their separation.

Ansys Inc., a Canonsburg, Pa.-based engineering software company, hired Jones Day corporate partner Patrick Belville in Detroit last month as a deputy general counsel. Belville, who rejoined Jones Day in 2018 after spending four years as an associate general counsel for M&A at Cardinal Health Inc., didn’t respond to a request for comment about his new role, nor did an Ansys spokeswoman.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at