Tope Awotona

June 5, 2024
5 min read

Early life and schooling

Tope Awotona is a billionaire, black founder, and CEO of Calendly, a leading appointment-scheduling software used by over 10 million people worldwide. Born in Nigeria, Tope immigrated to the United States at age 12 with his family. He went on to attend college at Harvard University, where he graduated with a degree in computer science. After working in the tech industry for a few years, Tope decided to start his own company. In 2013, he launched Calendly, which has since become one of the fastest-growing startups in Silicon Valley. In this profile, we’ll look at Tope’s story and how he built Calendly into a successful business.

Tope Awotona was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the United States at age 12. His father was a microbiologist, and his mother was a pharmacy owner while she also worked at the Nigerian Central Bank. At 12 years old, Tope’s father was murdered in a carjacking. A few years later, Tope graduated from Wheeler High School in Georgia at the age of 15. He then went on to receive a Management Information Systems degree from the Terry College of Business at UGA.

Calendly

Calendly is a cloud-based software company that provides online appointment-scheduling services to individuals and businesses. The company was founded in 2013 by Tope Awotona, who serves as its CEO.

Tope Awotona of Calendly

Calendly’s mission is to make scheduling meetings easier for everyone. The company’s scheduling platform enables users to schedule one-on-one meetings, group events, and recurring appointments with ease. Calendly also offers a variety of features to help users manage their schedules, including calendar integrations, meeting reminders, and team management tools.

Since its launch, Calendly has been used by millions of people worldwide to schedule over two billion meetings. The company has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing startups in the United States, and it has been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, and Inc. magazine.

“With my previous businesses, I hedged my bets a little bit and gave myself a way out. With Calendly, I flew into a war zone and put in every cent I had. If you’re going to do something, you have to go all in.”

Early Career

Awotona also founded Projector Spot, a company that sold projectors, and Yard Steals, a site for home and outdoor equipment.

Previously, Awotona worked for an Internet travel agency before opting to switch over to the role of a rep in alarm set sales. He later moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked at IBM. Awotona worked for Dell EMC, where he was in charge of selling enterprise software to corporations such as Coca-Cola, Aflac, Equifax, Blue Cross, and Shield. He also worked with Vertafore, a software company, as a National Account Manager.

In 2013, he launched Calendly.com, a website where entrepreneurs can find more availability and times for their meetings. He paid for it by borrowing against his 401(k) and using his credit cards. But as the website gained popularity, it began to make money.

“In my life, I’ve benefited from not taking the conventional wisdom. It’s benefited me personally, and I think it has benefited the business.”

Leadership roles & awards

Under his leadership, Calendly has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in the U.S. by Inc. magazine and one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials by Fortune magazine and is frequently covered by Forbes. He is also a board member of SalesLoft.

In addition to his work at Calendly, Awotona is passionate about giving back to his community.

Tope Awotona’s impressive career black excellence, and rise to success are why his profile is part of our Black Founders50 Series. Download the complete 2023 BBVA Founders50 list here.

BBVA envisions a vibrant Canadian technology ecosystem with significant participation from members of the Black community. We are on a mission to help establish 1000 successful, Black-led tech and tech-enabled businesses in Canada by 2030.

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