Ritesh Agarwal is an Indian entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of OYO Rooms.
Last Updated: October 27, 2023
Ritesh Agarwal is a young and successful entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of OYO Hotels, a rapidly growing hotel chain that has disrupted the hospitality industry in India and around the world. Agarwal’s journey from a small town in India to building a unicorn startup is an inspiration for many aspiring entrepreneurs.
Early Life and Education
Ritesh Agarwal was born on November 16, 1993, in a small town called Rayagada in the state of Odisha, India. He grew up in a modest household and was always interested in entrepreneurship. Agarwal dropped out of college after completing his 12th standard to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.
Agarwal started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17 when he launched Oravel Stays, an online marketplace for budget accommodation. However, the venture did not take off, and Agarwal had to pivot to a new idea.
In 2013, Agarwal launched OYO Rooms, an online platform that offered standardized and affordable hotel rooms. OYO’s business model was simple: Agarwal would partner with small hotels, renovate them, and standardize their rooms and services under the OYO brand.
OYO’s growth was phenomenal, and it soon became the largest hotel chain in India, with over 43,000 hotels in 800 cities across the country. OYO’s success was driven by its focus on providing affordable and standardized accommodation to budget travelers.
In 2018, OYO received a significant boost when SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate, invested $800 million in the company. OYO’s valuation skyrocketed, and it became a unicorn, a startup with a valuation of over $1 billion.
OYO’s expansion did not stop at India. It has since expanded into several international markets, including China, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States. OYO has become one of the world’s largest hotel chains, with over 1.2 million rooms in over 80 countries.
Awards and Recognitions
Agarwal’s contribution to the Indian startup ecosystem has been widely recognized. He has won several awards, including the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence in 2018.
In 2019, Agarwal was featured in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for Asia, and Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world list. He was also awarded the Business World Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the same year.
Ritesh Agarwal’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the fact that age is just a number when it comes to entrepreneurship. Agarwal’s focus on providing affordable and standardized accommodation to budget travelers has disrupted the hospitality industry in India.