Ritesh Agarwal is the founder and CEO of OYO and an Indian billionaire entrepreneur. OYO Rooms is India's largest hotel network, with monthly revenue of $3.5 million and 1,500 employees in 154 cities across the country. Ritesh made history in 2012 by becoming the world's second-youngest self-made billionaire at 25 years young.
Ritesh Agarwal was born in Bissam Cuttack town in Odisha and brought up in Titilagarh. His family used to run a small shop, so he had exposure to the entrepreneurial life as a child. He graduated from St. John’s Senior Secondary School and moved to Delhi for college, but dropped out soon after to launch OYO and became the first Indian to be selected for the Thiel Fellowship in 2013.
Launching OYO Rooms
In September 2012, Ritesh started a budget accommodation portal called Oravel Stays. The company was accepted into the accelerator program by Venture Nursery and won one of 2013's Thiel Fellowships, receiving $100,000 in grant money.
The company, OYO Rooms, was launched in May of 2013 and managed to raise $1 billion by September 2018. In July 2019 the OYO founder tripled his stake with a purchase of another $2 billion worth of shares.
OYO Rooms Journey
2013: Ritesh Agarwal selected for the Thiel Fellowship and received a $100,000 grant.
2014: Received first series A funding.
2015 – March: Received $25 million in funding
2015 – April: OYO app was launched followed by massive expansion.
2015 – July: Bagged $100 million in series C round of funding from SoftBank.
2016: The hotel chain hit the 1 million check-ins mark & also launched in Malaysia.
2017: Launched a business in Nepal.
2018: Established operations in the UK, UAE, Dubai, China, Singapore & Indonesia and became a unicorn.
2019: In total, OYO gained more than 330,000 rooms in 500 cities globally.
Ritesh Agarwal's net worth in 2020 was estimated to be approximately $1.1 billion (₹7253 crores).
Awards & Recognition
-First Resident Asian to win ’20 Under 20’ Thiel Fellowship in 2013.
-One of the Top 50 Entrepreneurs by TATA First Dot Awards in 2013.
-One of the 8 Hottest Teenage Start-up Founders in the World by Business Insider in 2013.
-Received TiE-Lumis Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in 2014.
-Forbes “30 Under 30” in the Consumer Tech Sector.
-Young Entrepreneur Award by Business World.
Indian Engineering Colleges: A Complete Encyclopaedia Of Top 100 Engineering Colleges.
Kaleidoscope (25 award-winning short stories).
Ritesh Agarwal shares his story of how he always had grand plans for OYO and was able to execute them with his able colleagues to scale his company to today’s levels with Anand Daniel, partner at Accel, on the #INSIGHTSPodcast2019 series.
“As an entrepreneur, you have to be open to taking risks, especially when the downside is limited but the upside is high.”
Ritesh Agarwal, OYO Founder
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