Ritesh Agarwal, Oyo Room founder Success story
The teenage boy Ritesh Agarwal is the young Founder & CEO of OYO Rooms, fastest growing branded network of hotels offline & online. He is the World’s youngest CEO at the age of 17. His well-renowned hotel brand has now spread its network in about 200 towns across India. Also, in just about three years, they now have around 70000 hotel rooms in 7000 hotels. The incredible success can be attributed to Ritesh Agarwal initially started with one hotel in Gurgaon.
Ritesh Agarwal, who started the company called Oyo Rooms at the age of 20, surprised even the most experienced entrepreneurs and investors. The main objective of the Oyo Rooms is to provide travelers with the best basic amenities at affordable prices in hotels in the big cities of the country.
Early life of Ritesh Agarwal
Ritesh Agarwal was born on 16th November 1993 in a business family of the district of Cuttack Bisam in the state of Orissa. He had started working to understand the business at a young age. The biggest role in this was his family’s background. He attended the Sacred Heart School in Rayagada, Orissa. During the growing up days in Rayagada, Orissa, it was all about fun and learning for him but his ways were rather unconventional from those of other kids. He was deeply interested in learning programming and software from his childhood days. He also developed software merely at 8 years of age. In the year 2009, he left for Kota to join IIT and in no time he figured that Kota was anything but a place where one could learn coding. Ritesh Agarwal even started writing a book and ended up inscribing ‘Indian Engineering Colleges: A Complete Encyclopaedia of Top 100 Engineering Colleges’. This book was sold hugely on E-commerce website Flipkart.
The idea of Oyo Rooms
When Ritesh Agarwal was 16 years old he was chosen among the 240 children to be a part of the Asian Science Camp held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai. The camp was an annual forum for pre-collegiate students who aimed at promoting discussion for the betterment of science in the region. During that time, due to the leverage of the free time he used to travel a lot, and stayed in PG’s, budget hotels, etc. And because there was nothing left to interest him about Kota, he often used to take a train to Delhi. He used to stay at odd bed & breakfast (B&B) places and attend events and conferences to meet entrepreneurs and because he couldn’t afford the registration costs, he would often just sneak in.
In 2011, Ritesh Agarwal moved to Delhi with intentions of starting up something of his own and at the same time to prepare for SAT to move to the US for further studies. But SAT never happened. Here too, he used to travel quite a lot during the holiday days and stay at affordable hotels at affordable prices. Ritesh’s interest was very much in business and he wanted to do something in this area. But he was not clear about what business should he do. Many times he used to come to Delhi to catch a train from Kota and stay in inexpensive hotels like Mumbai, so that he could meet young youth entrepreneurs and start-up founders in Delhi. Many times the registration fee for joining these events was so high that it became for him to attend it. Hence, he used to do nothing but meet and read about entrepreneurs, start-ups, businesses, and especially Airbnb! 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.
Launching of Oravel Stays
In the year 2012, Ritesh Agarwal launched his first start-up – Oravel Stays. The purpose of this company was to make the travelers available to the rooms at fewer prices for short or mid-term period. Anyone could easily book the hotels online. Within a few months of the start of the company, they got a fund of 30 lakh from Venture Nursery, a company investing in new startups. Ritesh had enough money to pursue his company. At the same time, he placed this business idea before Theil Fellowship, which is a global competition organized by Peter Thel’s “Theel Foundation”, co-founder of the PayPal company. Fortunately, they were successful in achieving the tenth position in this competition and they received funds of about 66 lakhs in the form of fellowship. In a very short time, he was very excited about the successes he got from his new startup, and he started working more closely on his start-up. But they didn’t know the reason that why their business failed to give the expected profit and “Oravel Stay” slowly went to the deficit. The more they tried to improve the situation, the condition worsened, and in the end they had to close the company temporarily.
OYO Rooms launch by Ritesh Agarwal
Ritesh Agarwal was not disappointed with the failure of his first start-up and thought to reconsider the plan adopted by him and make some changes in the plan to overcome its shortcomings. After considering the plan, he realized that there is no problem in getting rooms in cheap hotels in India but the fact is that hotels are unable to provide the best funding facilities in less money. While considering, he also remembered the experiences of staying in the cheap hotels during his stay when he got dirty and stubborn rooms even after paying too much money and sometimes found comfortable rooms in less money. These things prompted him to make some changes in the oravel Stays and keep in mind the Facilities of Travelers, and then he launched the oravel Stays 2013. This got him motivated again, to create an online yet social community to bring information about all good places together on one platform. But this time he changed the name and purpose with of oravel Stays as Oyo Rooms, which means “on your own”. The purpose of the Oyo Room is not to fill the room at any hotel, but to provide the comfort and services to the travelers. He took care of the hotel’s rooms and the quality of the basic facilities there, and for this the company has set some standards. Now the hotel who wants to connect with the Oyo Rooms has to first contact the company. After this, the employees of the company will visit the hotel to inspect the rooms and other facilities there. If that hotel meets all the standards of Oyo Rooms, then they can connect with oyo, otherwise not. After the launch, Ritesh Agarwal even got on board Bhawna Agarwal, former CEO at e-commerce firm Seventy MM for critical business advising. This time they decided to play it smart & safe, and made sure to leave no stone would be left. 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.
Young CEO, Ritesh Agarwal
Ritesh Agarwal’s journey as an entrepreneur was not a very smooth one; he had to deal with failures and difficulties. Ritesh is a young minded man. Thin, long and scattered hair in appearance is exactly like any college student. But sometimes people who look ordinary are doing things that you do not expect. Ritesh Agarwal is also a young entrepreneur. He gave his thoughts, reality, on the strength of experience, ability to identify the right opportunity and hard work at the young age of 21 years.
Ritesh Agarwal undeniably faced a lot of obstacles in his life, but he managed to think beyond them and achieve the best in his life. Ritesh invests 16 hours a day to ensure smooth operations of his business and complete satisfaction of his clients. He has now made the traveling and staying in different places experience easy. He has become an inspiration to all the young ones and also the professionals to do something out of the box.
OYO Rooms Net Worth
Oyo Rooms a network of 2,200 hotels operating in 154 cities across India with monthly revenues of $3.5 million and 1,500 employees. It has raised a total of $125 million of funding in 4 rounds from 7 investors.
Awards won by Ritesh Agarwal
A huge list of awards and achievements follow a young teenager Ritesh Agarwal. He wrote a book, which was later in-scripted and sold hugely on Flipkart. The book’s name is; ‘Indian Engineering Colleges: a Complete Encyclopedia of Top 100 Engineering Colleges.’ Ritesh and OYO Rooms has won national and international accolades including Business World Young Entrepreneur Award, TIE Lumis Business Excellence Awards, India International Travel Mart Award and Lufthansa ET Now Runway to Success Award. Ritesh Agarwal is recognized for his contribution in the field with the New Age Entrepreneur Award 2016 and CSR Awards in Mumbai.