From Self-Funded Startup to Profitable Unicorn. The Calendly Journey.2 min read

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Last year, ⅓ of tech founders struggled to secure funding. In the early days of SaaS unicorn Calendly, raising money was also a big challenge for Tope Awotona, Founder & CEO. To get the company off the ground, he had to take a different path. This included investing his life savings, stretching every dollar and doubling-down on virality.

Whilst a struggle, this ultimately benefited the business model, leading to the creation of a product that ‘sold itself’.

“I did not like the process of raising money… In the early days of the business, you’re mostly raising from the least professional investors & that experience was not great for me” – Tope Awotona, Founder & CEO of Calendly

In a recent conversation with Blake Bartlett, Partner at OpenView Ventures, at SaaStock Remote 2021, Tope shared how he overcame these early challenges to drive the company’s extraordinary growth. Learn the secrets behind one of the most successful product-led businesses in the world.

“Creating virality, loops & collaboration hooks in your product can be a huge accelerant towards profitable growth” – Tope Awotona, Founder & CEO of Calendly

Tope identified the virality of the product as a strong user acquisition channel, and used the self-service nature of Calendly as an opportunity to drive profitability – reducing the need for huge marketing or sales spend.

Watch back on Tope’s talk to understand why he did not wish to rely on outside funding, and took the bootstrap path instead to scale his startup 🚀


Listen now 🎧

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Found Tope’s journey of evolving from a bootstrapped startup to a profitable unicorn useful? Explore the best path to scale, with Nathan Latka (Founder of GetLatka), Chris Savage (Co-founder & CEO of Wistia), and Mads Fosselius (CEO & Co-founder of Dixa) 👇

To get your SaaS company off the ground, you need financing. Yet, whilst VC funding can accelerate growth, it comes with expectation – & giving too much equity away reduces your freedom. Equally, although bootstrapping gives you more decision-power and profit-focus, it can be a lonely, slow road. So, should you raise, or not raise? In this debate, SaaS experts will evaluate both routes, to help you make the decision that’s best for your business.


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