Billionaire founder of tech company Calendly moves to Buckhead

Tech billionaire Tope Awotona, founder of scheduling software company Calendly, is preparing to move to Buckhead with a new West Paces Ferry Road mansion.

Awotona – who did not respond to a request for an interview – is among several billionaires in the neighborhood, including Spanx clothing founder Sara Blakely and Mailchimp creator Ben Chestnut.

Tope Awotona. Credit: Calendly

Awotona made Forbes magazine’s billionaires list at 40 this year, with Calendly’s estimated value at $3 billion less than a decade after it launched with the help of Buckhead’s Atlanta Tech Village.

He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, into a family of entrepreneurs, according to an Inc.com profile: his grandmother had a textile business, his mother and aunt co-owned a pharmacy, and his father quit a job. in a company to create several companies. When he was 12, his father was shot dead in a carjacking, according to Forbes. The family moved to Marietta in 1996, when she was 15 years old.

Awotona was precocious, having graduated from high school two years earlier and accepted to college at age 15, although his mother would not allow him to attend at that time. He then graduated from the University of Georgia and went into software sales.

But the startup urge took hold of him, and he launched a series of unsuccessful ventures: a dating site and e-commerce sites for projectors and garden equipment.

In 2012, while trying to schedule a meeting, Awotona realized that there was no good product to do it smoothly and quickly. This gave him the brainstorm for Calendly, which he launched in September 2013 and soon brought to Tech Village, a startup incubator on Piedmont Road, which helped him secure funding.

Today, the company remains based in Atlanta, though it doesn’t have a physical office, with everyone working remotely since last year. Forbes estimates it has 10 million users in a rapidly growing base. Awotona remains the majority owner and works as CEO.

Calendly’s spectacular success has made Awotona wealthy — but one of only two black tech billionaires in the United States, according to Forbes’ tally.

“Your background is what you make of it. It can be an asset or an excuse,” he told Tech Village in a 2018 interview. “I’ve never accepted lowered standards. Where I grew up everyone looked like me – all of our leaders were black, so color put no limits on my dreams. But I learned that growing up as a black person in America is very different. There is not enough examples of people who look like us in positions of power or who are very successful in technology Unfortunately, this limits people and can get in the way of the idea that they can do whatever they want .

According to Calendly and various media profiles, Awotona also has a residency in New York City and enjoys stand-up comedy, CrossFit exercises, and meditation.

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