25-year-old Ritesh Agarwal is the founder and CEO of the OYO Rooms. What he’s been able to achieve at his age is nothing short of mind-boggling. His OYO Rooms is today the fastest chain of budget accommodation all across the country. OYO Rooms is currently valued at a whopping 400 million dollars valuation!
In fact, Ritesh is the first Asian resident to be a Thiel Fellow awardee. Thiel fellowship is a global contest where students under the age of 22 can present their ideas. Ritesh was amongst the top 10 winners of the competition, receiving 100,000 dollars from Peter Thiel himself. For those who don’t know, Thiel is the co-Founder of PayPal.
Ritesh comes from a business background and completed his schooling from the Sacred Heart School in Raygada, Orissa. Even as a child he was a curious learner.
He went on to master computer programming via Google and his elder brother’s books. He started to code as early as 8 years of age. In fact, Ritesh kick-started his entrepreneurial journey when he was only 17 years old.
By 2011, he moved to the capital to build a start-up. At the time, he would read up on inspiring entrepreneurial accounts and business success stories. Reading about Airbnb also inspired him.
So did Ritesh ever go to college? Well, he did join the Indian business school however it was only for three days. The entrepreneurial ideas buzzing in his heart forced him to never look back.
So what attracted Ritesh towards the hospitality industry?
Ritesh would himself go backpacking as a student. He soon realized the dearth of good budget accommodations for the same. He realized that the basic amenities that even budgeted stays should ensure were not being rendered.
The facilities were far below acceptable standards. This led him to tap into the opportunity and start his first venture ‘Oravel Stays’ in 2012.
Oravel provided a comprehensive list of bed and breakfasts across India to help tourists find decent budgeted stay options. Oravel Stays went on to become OYO Rooms in 2013.
Ritesh positioned OYO Rooms as an online community where accurate insights into great budgeted stay options were discussed. Ritesh’s ultimate aim was to create the largest network of standardized, efficient and budgeted rooms. This would ensure that tourists are not left shockingly disappointed on arrival.
Today OYO has become a mark of standardization. Such that people look for the brand name OYO to trust a particular hotel as a reliable option.
OYO achieved over 4 crores in 2014 itself at a 14Cr valuation. It went on to grow magnanimously across cities of Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Ritesh has used the power of the tech to bring about a change in the budgeted accommodation industry of India. When not at work the creative genius loves to indulge in Yoga and cycling.
He is a living example of dream big, achieve even more! Truly an inspiration for the youth of India, Ritesh shows how all you got to do is believe and envision.