Hotel Revolution: OYO Rooms
By Subrahmanyam V.V.
Most of us have had issues with finding quality stays at affordable prices in India. The hotels either charge too exuberantly or are not at all worth putting up at. Now, this issue is long gone and successfully dealt with by OYO rooms. While, most of us have a fair idea of what OYO rooms are, not many know about the young entrepreneur behind this company worth Rs 360 crore value. He is a 21 year old who was born to a business family in Orissa. Ritesh Agarwal was always trying to learn something new as he believed in thinking out of the box even when he was studying in the school.
A Boost to your Confidence
After finishing the school, he got admitted to a college where he only went for a couple of days before deciding on quitting. He realised that college was not where his dreams could come true. He did have some knowledge about the computer as well as coding. It was all thanks to Google that he had learnt the basics of a couple of computer languages as well. After dropping out of college, Ritesh relocated to Delhi to prepare for SAT to go to US for further studies. However, he couldn't make it and instead ended up browsing on computer regarding Airbnb and other such business ideas. It was then that he came up with the idea of OYO rooms, initially launched under the name of Oravel Stays. His idea soon caught the attention of some investors and then he decided on pitching it at the Thiel Fellowship. He became the first Indian to receive the highly coveted Thiel Fellowship amounting to $100,000.
His confident was soaring high, but the idea was simply not taking off. He tried implementing the Airbnb model which failed as well. This got him thinking about the basic needs of travellers in India. The realisation had struck that everyone is looking for affordable yet clean accommodation for vacations which was easily available as well. This was when Ritesh Agarwal thought of making a platform where he could bring all the quality hotels together. The website was supposed to be more socially oriented and the room here were meant to provide only the basics to the travellers. Hence, OYO rooms came into existence.
They began it low-key this time by roping in only a few hotels in the beginning. The idea worked and Ritesh along with his co-founder started getting investment offers from Light Speed Venture Partners and DSG consumer partners. It was their team of two that raised the whole idea and soon the expansion began as they became a team of fifteen. schools.
Today the company has become one of its type in India with its presence in more than 20 cities all over India. They have associated with 350+ hotels and the OYO room app continues to garner downloads as we speak right now. Ritesh Agarwal goes on to prove that when you are taking a risk, the hick-ups are bound to happen. What keeps you going is the dedication and passion that doesn't allow you to give up so easily. So even if you have had some initial issues with your idea, do not give up and instead start looking for other options.