We wrote last week about the teams at Booksy and Schedulicity taking new funding for their scheduling platforms. While they were raising what any would consider respectable rounds, the big winner is Calendly. The Atlanta-based scheduling platform just raised $350 million on a post-money valuation of over $3 billion. Nothing like a global pandemic to accelerate success in areas we’ve been expected big success for some time.
According to reports, Calendly saw its annual revenue double to $70 million in 2020. No doubt a beneficiary of the pandemic. And its estimated ARPU of $120 per year, or $10 per month, suggests a paying customer base of more than 500,000. That is definitely approaching scale. It also speaks to the notion of simplicity and frictionless customer experience. As Calendly puts it, you get 14-days to play with all the features of their platform for free, then you can keep the free version or upgrade to the paid versions. At $8 and $12 per user that is pretty much the cost of a pound of coffee. Not going to ruin anyone’s P&L.
The backstory of Calendly is the stuff of movies. If not movies, then at least motivational books or business school case studies. CEO and founder Tope Awotona immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria as a teenager. Along his journey, he worked as a door-to-door salesman. That is the ultimate training ground for knowing how to build a customer-centric mentality and company. After a few failures, he reportedly cashed out his 401k holdings and put them into building Calendly. We’re guessing he’s not going to need that 401k whenever he retires.
A Big Leap to $350 million
Until their $350 million round, the company had raised just $550,000. This amounts to a nice payday for Atlanta investor David Cummings, ex of Pardot and founder of the Atlanta Tech Village.
The clear break in Calendly’s success is its numerous integrations. The most important of course include its integrations with Google Calendar, Office 365, and Outlook. Platforms that are used by millions of businesses, large and small. And there’s a simplicity that is compelling as well.
Clearly, the pandemic has been a boost to the company. Doubling revenues from $35 million to $70 million in a year is no small feat. The pandemic has pushed many of our impromptu meetings to scheduled appointments. And Calendly is there to make that happen.
While some of the raise will provide investors with liquidity, much of the raise will go toward continuing to build out the platform with more tools and integrations. The company is also adding some heft to its leadership team with two new positions, chief revenue officer and chief people officer. These new positions will apparently be in San Francisco rather than Atlanta. With all of the talk about companies moving out of the Bay Area, this decision is bucking the trend in one sense. But it also fits with the remote work culture of sourcing talent where it lives.
Here’s how Awotona describes his company.
“Our profitable, unique, product-led growth model has led to Calendly becoming the most used, most integrated, most loved scheduling platforms for individuals and large enterprises alike, We really see ourselves as a leading orchestration platform. What that means is that we really want to remain extensible and flexible. We want our users to bring their own best in class products. We think about this in an agnostic way.”
By our math, scheduling platforms have raised almost half a billion dollars just in the last couple of weeks. We’ve always been bullish on scheduling solutions. It’s nice to see the market finally blossoming.