Atlanta, TX

The inspiring story of Atlanta's newest billionaire

Ash Jurberg
Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

This week Forbes released their annual list of billionaires.

In 2022, there are 2,668 billionaires in the world, a drop of 329 from last year. Each year when the list is released, I search for inspiring stories to share with readers.

This year I came across the story of Tope Awotona, which fits the bill. So let's take a quick look at Atlanta's newest billionaire.

The newest Atlanta billionaire

Tope has a net worth of $1.4 billion, something that would have seemed a pipe dream when he was growing up in a middle-class family in Lagos, Nigeria.

At the age of twelve, he saw his father shot after an attempted carjacking- something that has been a big motivation for him. In 1996 when Tope was 15, he moved to Atlanta with his family and graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Management Information Systems.

After graduation, he began to sell software, but he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He started three businesses which all failed, but this didnt deter him.

In 2013 he launched Calendly while working out of Atlanta Tech Village's coworking space. He put $200,000 of his own money into the business, maxing out all of his savings and credit cards.

The idea for Calendly- a modern scheduling and appointment platform -came to him from the frustration he found when trying to schedule meetings with clients.

To help program his product, Tope enlisted the help of Ukrainian developers. And just recently, he has paid to relocate his Ukrainian staff and support their families.

There are now 10 million people using Calendly and 50,000 companies. Last year Tope received a $350 million investment in his business which gave Calendly a valuation of $3 billion.

“Tope could be the most successful African-American tech entrepreneur of his generation,” David Cummings, founder of Atlanta Ventures

Tope has certainly come a long way since the young boy who saw his father murdered to immigration to Atlanta to now becoming Atlanta's newest billionaire.

It is a story that will hopefully inspire others.

Readers, what do you think of Tope's story? Please leave your comments in the section below.

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