Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, transformed the global hospitality industry with his innovative vision.

Ritesh Agarwal – Founder of OYO Rooms

Early Life and Education

Ritesh Agarwal, born on November 16, 1993, in Cuttack (Bhisam), Odisha, is a visionary entrepreneur who has revolutionized the hospitality industry. Raised in Rayagada, Odisha, he completed his schooling at Sacred Heart School. His early academic journey included a brief stint at the Indian School of Business & Finance in Delhi, which he left to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.

Early Achievements

Agarwal’s potential was evident from a young age. At sixteen, he was selected for the Asian Science Camp at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai, recognizing his brilliance. At seventeen, he authored “The Encyclopedia of Indian Engineering Colleges,” which became a best-seller, propelling him into the public eye.

Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, transformed the global hospitality industry with his innovative vision.

Entrepreneurial Journey

In 2012, Ritesh launched Oravel Stays, a platform to book budget accommodations. His extensive travels across India, where he stayed in over 100 guest houses and hotels, exposed him to the glaring need for affordable, high-quality lodging. This insight led to the transformation of Oravel Stays into OYO Rooms in 2013.

Rise of OYO Rooms

Under Ritesh’s leadership, OYO Rooms rapidly grew to become one of the world’s leading chains of hotels, homes, and living spaces. Initially focusing on budget hotels, OYO expanded its footprint globally, including markets in Malaysia, Nepal, the UK, UAE, Sri Lanka, and more. The company’s success attracted significant investments from prominent firms like SoftBank Group, Greenoaks Capital, Sequoia India, Lightspeed India, Hero Enterprise, and Airbnb.

Global Expansion and Impact

OYO’s innovative model, which provides standardized amenities in budget accommodations, struck a chord with travelers worldwide. The company now operates in over 800 cities across 80 countries, employing more than 17,000 people, including around 8,000 in India and South Asia. OYO has also established 26 training centers to nurture hospitality talent across India.

Achievements and Recognitions

Ritesh Agarwal’s entrepreneurial acumen has earned him numerous accolades:

  • TiE-Lumis Entrepreneurial Excellence Award (2014)
  • ’20 Under 20′ Thiel Fellowship (2013)
  • Top 50 Entrepreneurs (2013) by TATA First Dot Awards
  • Finalist of Global Student Entrepreneurship Awards
  • Named among 8 Hottest Teenage Start-Up Founders (2013) by Business Insider

Financial Milestones

Under Ritesh’s leadership, OYO generated revenue of USD 951 million in 2019. His journey from a dropout to one of the youngest self-made billionaires is a testament to his innovative thinking and relentless pursuit of excellence. As of 2024, Ritesh Agarwal’s net worth is estimated at 16,000 Crore INR (160 Billion USD).

Lessons from Ritesh Agarwal’s Success

Ritesh Agarwal’s story is a beacon of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. Key takeaways from his journey include:

  • Identifying and solving major problems
  • Valuing and continually expanding one’s knowledge
  • Learning from mistakes and striving for improvement
  • The importance of hard work and patience

Ritesh Agarwal’s journey from a small-town boy to a global business leader exemplifies the impact of innovation and determination. His success story inspires many young entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and create meaningful change in the world.


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