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Entrepreneur in focus: Ritesh Agarwal, CEO & Founder, OYO

Published on January 11, 2023


Entrepreneur in focus: Ritesh Agarwal, CEO & Founder, OYO

Childhood serves as a window through which many dreams and aspirations can enter. However, as children, we have a lot of goals and aspirations for who we want to be. Similar to that, Ritesh likewise aspired to be a pilot. He had aspired to do something different and unique since he was a child, and as they say, there are events in life that can change your entire perspective on how you think. Something coincidental occurred to him, his sister once attended a business festival shortly after he found himself curious about the term “entrepreneurship” and what it really meant. From flipping through the dictionary to find its true meaning to being one of the most successful ones out there.

The creator and CEO of the most affordable hotel chain in the world, OYO, is an Indian billionaire named Ritesh Agarwal, who is only 25 years old and has already made it to the list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Global Hospitality. He began his journey at the age of only 20 with the intention of building a solution for travelers looking for inexpensive hotels all over the world and has succeeded in doing so efficiently. His story from a college dropout to a billionaire has been

an inspiration for all the young entrepreneurs of today. “I’m lucky to be living in a generation where it doesn’t really matter how old you are,” Agarwal said of his success as a young entrepreneur. “If you’re really making a positive difference, there is a significant amount of capital chasing you. We were lucky that we were building a good business, and people found out about our good business, and when they found out, they tried to put their capital to work on the process.”

With a keen interest in technology from the very beginning, Ritesh began programming at the age of 10. Along with that, traveling the world was another passion he had discovered, and what better way to combine both? He observed and recognised the demand for inexpensive hotels that offer respectable services and amenities like air conditioning, WiFi, cosy beds, and breakfast options. He saw the opportunity and took it upon himself to build something that has never been experienced before. The hunch to solve this problem led him to combine his love for travel with his expertise in technology to make something extraordinary.

Ritesh Agarwal holds court as the youngest male self-made billionaire in the world and comes in second as the world’s youngest self-made billionaire. His work was recognised and he was mentioned in Forbes’ “30 under 30” under their consumer tech sector listing. His story is one of perseverance, commitment, and not losing sight of the big picture. “Challenging the status quo in any industry to make a positive difference is something that can create a lot of value,” he believes, and he is eager to deliver on his promises.

Ritesh, also known as the startup hero in India, has mentioned 5 business rules which are:

  1. Innovate to Solve, Don’t follow the crowd
  2. Hire the best
  3. Remain strong and fight on.
  4. There is no perfect timing, start as soon as possible and lastly
  5. Follow your dreams because they know the way.

These are simple things in life, but they have been proof enough of what success really means: hard work and perseverance.

His work philosophy is quintessential: “I have always been a believer in the big cause that we’re trying to build here at Oyo,” Agarwal said in a recent interview. “This is a company that will fundamentally redefine how hospitality and real estate [are] seen by consumers and asset owners across the world.” The investment, he said, will “double down” on his commitment to the company and emphasise his interest “in trying to make a long-term impact” in the hospitality sector. Oyo has rapidly expanded into China (500,000 rooms across 10,000 hotels as of June), the Middle East, and Europe as it acquired traction in India (85 hotels in the U.K.). Ritesh Agarwal And his ambitious projects are backed by investors such as Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Softbank. According to the founder, around 20% of the company’s revenues come from Europe. He added that these figures were essential to the company’s entry into the US market earlier this year. The corporation operated 68 hotels in 40 American cities as of June 2019. In addition to all of this, OYO launched to help couples plan hassle-free weddings, and OYO Total Holidays to help people put together travel packages. This is just the beginning.

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