Tech billionaire Tope Awotona, founding father of the scheduling software program firm Calendly, is making ready to settle into Buckhead with a brand new West Paces Ferry Highway mansion.
Awotona – who didn’t reply to an interview request – is among the many neighborhood’s a number of billionaires, together with Spanx clothes founder Sara Blakely and Mailchimp creator Ben Chestnut.
Tope Awotona. Credit score: Calendly
Awotona made Forbes journal’s checklist of billionaires at age 40 this 12 months, with Calendly’s estimated worth at $3 billion lower than a decade after he launched it with the assistance of Buckhead’s Atlanta Tech Village.
He was born in Lagos, Nigeria to an entrepreneurial household, in response to an Inc.com profile: his grandmother had a textile enterprise, his mom and aunt co-owned a pharmacy, and his father left a company job to start out a number of companies. When he was 12, his father was shot to demise in a carjacking, in response to Forbes. The household moved to Marietta in 1996, when was 15.
Awotona was precocious, graduating highschool two years earlier and accepted into school at age 15, although his mom wouldn’t enable him to attend at the moment. He went on to graduate from the College of Georgia and went into software program gross sales.
However the startup urge had a maintain of him, and he launched a string of unsuccessful companies: a courting web site and ecommerce websites for projectors and yard gear.
In 2012, whereas making an attempt to schedule a gathering, Awotona realized there was not product for doing so easily and rapidly. That gave him the brainstorm for Calendly, which he launched in September 2013 and shortly delivered to Tech Village, a startup incubator on Piedmont Highway, which helped him to safe funding.
At present, the enterprise stays based mostly in Atlanta, although it has no bodily workplace, with everybody working remotely as of final 12 months. Forbes estimates it has 10 million customers in a quickly rising base. Awotona stays the bulk proprietor and works as CEO.
The spectacular success of Calendly has made Awotona rich – however one in every of solely two Black tech billionaires within the U.S., by Forbes’ rely.
“Your background is what you make of it. It may be an asset or an excuse,” he informed Tech Village in a 2018 interview. “I’ve by no means accepted lowered requirements. The place I grew up, everybody regarded like me – all of our leaders had been Black, so shade didn’t set any limits to my dreaming. However I’ve discovered that rising up Black in America could be very completely different. There should not practically sufficient examples of people that seem like us in positions of energy or who’ve a whole lot of success within the tech discipline. Sadly, that limits folks and might hinder the concept that they will do no matter they need.”
In accordance with Calendly and numerous media profiles, Awotona additionally maintains a residence in New York Metropolis and enjoys standup comedy, CrossFit train and meditation.