Calendly is a lifehack to email tag woes. Seriously. We’ve all been there, in that tedious email ping pong battle of when to meet and where. Calendly solves the never-ending email exchange with a 60-second sign-up that leads to an elegant and remarkably simple-to-use service that generates a custom webpage that syncs to all of your existing calendars. Send your personalized link to whomever you please and they can schedule a time that works for them. No booking conflicts. A simple notification to both parties. A hearty goodbye to the time and productivity sucks of yet another email volley.
With over 2 million connections made and 300,000 users, the scheduling startup hailing from the halls of the Atlanta Tech Village is growing fast and making lots of people happy for just $10 per month (or for free with the basic option). Recent product updates and their hyper-growth, a 7x revenue boost in 2015, make Calendly one to watch. We caught up with General Manager Claire Suellentrop to learn more.
What is Calendly?
On a high level, Calendly is elegant and simple software for businesses people. It eliminates email back and forth and increases customer satisfaction for sales and client services teams. Anyone in an outward-facing role–sales, client services, support, advising, recruiting, hiring–saves time and can be more effective. It’s a big simplifier in education, as well. College advisors and career centers love Calendly. K-12 faculty and staff use it when scheduling parent-teacher conferences.
What is your founding story?
Calendly was founded in late 2013, and at the time, it was only Tope Awotona, our CEO, who comes from a background in enterprise software sales. He was sick of the back-and-forth trying to set meetings with prospects, so he did a lot of research and testing on the existing scheduling tools at the time. What he found was that they were clunky, or that the end users encountered a lot of blocks when trying to schedule, and the idea of Calendly was born. He worked with a dev team to release a free version of the app, and by the end of 2013, it had already been picked up by around 4,000 people.
I came on board a year later as the second employee, just before we launched the Premium version. Since then, we’ve simplified scheduling for over 2 million people and by the time this article is published, we’ll have just hit our $1 million ARR goal.
How has Calendly grown?
On the user side, we are on the path to grow 5x in next year. Team-wise, we’ve grown from just the CEO and myself to our tech team, design team and dedicated customer happiness team. We have a total of 6 people in the office and are adding more even now to support that rapid user growth.
Calendly has been inherently viral. If I use it to schedule a meeting with you, then you use it and can adopt it, and go on to share it with your network, as well. This natural spread of the product helped rocket organic growth without needing the help of a heavy sales team. This, in turn, is an advantage to our users: we can offer a lightweight and elegant product that is affordable, as well.
How do you stand apart from the competition?
Compared to the legacy scheduling tools on the market, we offer the simplest, most modern interface. This makes setup super-easy for our users, and it creates a great experience for their customers. Also, because we’re built on a modern stack, we’re fully optimized for use on all devices. Instead of someone having to download a native app to schedule with you, no matter what device your customer is on, Calendly.com is fully responsive to the size of their screen. We also place very high value on speedy, helpful customer support, which users have told us really sets us apart.
What’s new with product development?
The app in its original state integrated directly with Google Calendar and that alone brought in hundreds of thousands of users. But a big recent shift was releasing full integration with Outlook! On Google and Outlook combined, we’re looking at 700 million potential users. That’s exciting stuff.
In 2016, we’re gunning for continued serious growth while developing a product that can be sustained. We are expanding the team internally to really boost marketing, grew our revenue 7x this year, and have been reinvesting that for hyper-growth.
How does Atlanta weave into the Calendly story?
On the team side, our CEO has lived in several different places but calls Atlanta home; Atlanta has been the Calendly HQ since the beginning. I moved here for Calendly, as did another early member of our team.
On the product side, being part of the ATV has been huge. Fellow Village members become power users of Calendly to get their startups up and running, the ATV staff uses it to schedule internal goings-on, and the connections we’ve made here with other startups, with other passionate, smart, ambitious people, are invaluable.