OYO was founded in 2013 by Ritesh Agarwal, who is its CEO. The company started with a single hotel in Gurgaon in January 2013. The company as of October 2016 has around 7500 hotels in more than 220 cities of India.
Ritesh Agarwal CEO Oyo Rooms
Ritesh is making headlines after his start-up, a technology driven network of hotel rooms got funding of USD 100 million (Rs. 636 crores) by SoftBank Japan. But it’s not just the money that’s making the news. What’s also caught peoples’ eye apart from his age, is his story. Just 21-years-old, Ritesh Agarwal says his life is nothing short of a film script, and it is hard to disagree.A college dropout, earlier dreamt of becoming an Engineer. Ritesh, today heads among the most valuable start-up by a person who never studied beyond school.
To pursue his passion of becoming an entrepreneur, he enrolled into Indian School of Business & Finance, Delhi but left college mid-way to start his own company. He was hesitant about his decision but from the beginning was very clear about what he wanted to do and took some tough choices to accomplish his dreams.
Ritesh started his entrepreneurial journey when he was 17 years old. He dropped out of college and launched his first start‐up Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd. in the year 2012. Oravel was designed as a platform to enable listing and booking of budget accommodation. Being an avid traveler, he soon realized that the budget hospitality sector lacked predictability. Therefore, he pivoted Oravel to OYO Rooms in 2013 with the key proposition of offering affordable and standardized accommodation.This 19-year-old had traveled for months staying at budget hotels, attended customer calls every day and immersed himself in every possible experience to learn about budget hotel customers and their expectations. That was the kind of on-the-ground learning that helped him pivot Oravel to Oyo.
In person, the multimillionaire is really simple. It’s hard to not spot the quirks; he’s barefoot because he says shoes are restricting, or the famous backpack which he carried around with all his possessions for years, not knowing where he would spend his night – stairwells being regular beds.
With industry body, Assocham now saying innovators and entrepreneurs will form the next billionaires club in India by 2020, its people like this who will perhaps script the next chapter of India’s entrepreneurial journey.
Last modified: March 3, 2018