Ritesh Agarwal is the young Founder & CEO of OYO Rooms – A fastest growing Branded network of hotels offline & online.
Written by: Rananjai Pratap Singh
OYO Hotels & Homes, a young hotel startup, today is the world’s leading chain of hotels, homes, and spaces. Today, it operates in over 800 cities in 80 countries. I was founded in 2013 by Ritesh Aggarwal, OYO initially consisted mainly of budget hotels. OYO rooms have been one of the most successful start-ups in India, being the country’s largest budget hotel chain. OYO has over 23,000 hotels, 8,50,000 rooms, and 46,000 vacation homes across the globe.
Working of OYO
In the OYO model, hotels are not owned, instead, OYO ties up with certain hotels and acquires a few rooms to be given to people who want to avail the services of OYO. With a current valuation of nearly 360Cr, OYO rooms does nothing out of the box but provide travelers the coolest yet cheapest efficient, young, standardized rooms with no add-ons attached to it!
OYO Rooms was nothing but an idea to create India’s largest chain of efficient, rooms which might not have Spa, Gym, etc like the star hotels but lives up to the basic standards & high expectations for prices. To make sure the hotels meet their expectations; OYO Rooms reached out to prospective hotels or a hotel owner could also reach out to them. OYO’s team would visit the place, audit the hotel to understand the changes that would be required to standardize the property as per OYO standards.
RITESH AGGARWAL BEATING THE ODDS
UNKNOWN FACTS ABOUT OYO’S CEO: RITESH AGGARWAL
- Ritesh Aggarwal is a college dropout! Yes, you read it right. To pursue his passion for becoming an entrepreneur, he enrolled in the Indian School of Business & Finance, Delhi however he left college mid-way to start his own company. He was hesitant about his decision but he took some tough choices to accomplish his dreams.
- Before OYO Aggarwal was working on Oravel. Ritesh Agarwal has been a wayfarer himself and travelled across the country before launching OYO and during such travels, he discovered the problem with budget hotels. Thus at the mere age of 17, he launched Oravel travels, which he modelled after Airbnb. However, it later branched out to become OYO rooms. He had discovered that the problem with budget hotels was bigger than just availability.
- The sole resident Asian to have won a Thiel fellowship. The year he launched Oravel travels, he was nominated for the Thiel fellowship. The fellowship is designed by Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal and provided Aggarwal, a sum of $100,000 to pursue a start-up dream. Needless to say, he has been the only Indian to receive it.
START SMALL, NAIL IT, AND THEN MAKE IT BIG.
- Apart from an entrepreneur, he is an author, a coder and a great orator. At a young age, his book- A complete Encyclopaedia of top 100 engineering colleges, was published and soon became a best seller. Agarwal started coding at the tender age of 8. At the age of 16, he got a chance to be one of the 240 students who were a part of an Asian camp held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. He was the youngest speaker in the panel of Think EDU panel,2014 and is a constant at VCCircle events.
- Aggarwal is the World’s Youngest Self Made Billionaire after Kylie Jenner. Oyo rooms raised $1 billion in September 2018, even a year after that in July 2019 Ritesh Agarwal bought $2 billion in shares in the company, which tripled his shares. In the year 2020, Agarwal’s net worth is around INR 7253 crore which is $1.1 billion dollars. As per the Hurun Rich List 2020 making him the world’s youngest self made billionaire after the famous Kylie Jenner.
BUILDING HIS BUSINESS
After the launch, Ritesh even got on board Bhawna Agarwal, former CEO at e-commerce firm SeventyMM for critical business advising. They decided to play it smart & safe, and made sure to leave no stone unturned. They tied-up with a dozen numbers of hotels and with their help offered rooms to its customers. And it worked exactly as planned! Things started to get better for them and to meet the demands they eventually had to increase their team of two to fifteen and then twenty-five.
In 2014; the company raised Rs. 4 Cr from Lightspeed Venture Partners and DSG Consumer Partners, at a pre-money valuation of Rs 14 Cr. Additionally, their OYO Rooms mobile app has been downloaded more than 160,000 times and more than 20,000 bookings have been made so far. The app ranks amongst the best-rated apps on Google Play Store and has also been listed as one of the top three apps in the ‘Travel & Local’ category.
OYO has over 75 exclusive, full-inventory hotels with 1500 plus rooms as a part of its network. This includes a strong presence in Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Guntur and Nellore. The Sunrise State not only attracts business and corporate travellers but also is a hub of leisure and pilgrim travel.
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