Everyone wants to be successful, but not many want to do the work. This is one of the major reason why only a few people become successful.
The road to success is never easy, it can be achieved only with hard work, dedication, and passion.
Here is the success story of one such young boy who not only dreamt of success but also worked for it. He is Ritesh Agarwal, the mastermind behind India’s largest branded network of hotels – OYO Rooms.
THE MAN BEHIND OYO ROOMS – RITESH AGARWAL
Ritesh Agarwal is the Founder and CEO of OYO Rooms.
OYO (On Your Own) Rooms is one of the fastest growing Branded networks of hotels offline & online in India.
It offers classy hotel rooms with excellent services at the cheapest possible rates.
What makes them stand out in the crowd is their affordability, cleanliness, and availability across the country. What started as a single hotel in Gurgaon now has 8500+ hotels across 230 cities.
Today OYO is a multi-million dollar company with a current valuation of nearly $400 million.
However, it was not an easy journey for Ritesh Agarwal to achieve this milestone. It took a lot of hard work and determination to convert his dream into reality.
RITESH AGARWAL’S LIFE AS CHILD
Ritesh Agarwal was born on 16th November 1993 in Bissamcuttack, a village in Rayagada district of Odisha.
Agarwal’s father works for an infrastructure corporation and his mother is a homemaker.
As a kid, Ritesh had an optimistic approach towards life and was different when compared to other kids of his age.
Being raised in a middle-class Marwari family, he was always fond of computers.
He started to learn coding software when he was just eight years old.
My childhood was similar to any small town kid’s. I was raised in a middle-class family in Rayagada. I was good at studies and played sports. The only difference was I had big dreams even as a child — I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
Not satisfied by the simple coding languages taught in school, Ritiesh used to google and read his elder brother’s books to gain higher knowledge.
It would be hard to believe that the young millionaire once sold SIM cards to make money when he was 13.
He did schooling and intermediate from Sacred Heart School in Rayagada, Orissa.
After finishing class 12th, he moved to Kota, Rajasthan to join IIT.
During his free time in Kota, he started writing a book named ‘Indian Engineering Colleges: A Complete Encyclopaedia of Top 100 Engineering Colleges’.
It went on to become one of the best-selling books and was hugely sold on Flipkart.
RITESH AGARWAL’S LOVE TO TRAVEL
Besides all, Ritesh Agarwal was a travel enthusiast.
On weekends, he used to travel across northern India with whatever pocket money he had. He used to stay in PG’s and budget hotels.
Once he attended the TiE Global Summit in Delhi where entrepreneurs from different parts of the country gather at one place. Since then, he would take an overnight train from Kota to Delhi almost every weekend to meet entrepreneurs.
During such travels, he faced a lot of problems with budget hotels which includes fake promises on reservations, dirty rooms, unhygienic toilets, stinking basins, improper customer service, and what not.
On the other end, if he wants to spend in the five-star hotel, the price would be more. He also realized that not all people can spend a good amount on five-star hotels.
With many such experiences, Ritesh thought to tackle this problem by starting his own company where travelers would be given a good room with good facilities at affordable rates.
Ritesh Agarwal decided to quit college and managed to gather about Rs 16,000 to launch Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd an Indian version of the popular US-based online rental website Airbnb.
Meanwhile, he also presented his idea at the Thiel Fellowship which is a global international contest for the students who are under 20 years and wants to start their own startup.
Furthermore, the selected candidate will receive a whopping amount of $100,000 and mentorship from the foundation’s network of tech entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists.
UNSTIRRED BY STRUGGLES
Ritesh Agarwal then traveled across the country to stay in different hotels to analyze the problem with budget hotels in depth.
In due time, he was running out of money as he spent all his savings in exploring hotels.
At one point, he had just INR 35 in his bank account.
He was also afraid to inform his parents, as they would ask him to return home if they come to know about his struggles, thereby ending his entrepreneurial dreams.
I think that was the most important and best-learning part of my life. My family was well-off and it’s not like they couldn’t have helped me, but the problem is if I had picked up the phone, being 18 years old, and told my family ‘Guys I’m broke’, the first thing they would’ve told me is to come back home.
It was like now or never situation for him. He chose what the 1% of the ‘achievers’ do in such a situation – He decided to stay back and accomplish his goals.
Without money, he spent many nights by sleeping on benches and couches. His phone connection was also disconnected as he failed to pay his bills on time. He was even criticised and humiliated at places where he went to ask for fundings.
But he never gave up!
UNPREDICTABILITY AND-NON STANDARD SERVICES
After spending time in many hotels and listening to traveler’s reviews, Ritesh found that one of the major problems in the hospitality industry was unpredictability and non-standard services.
Hailing about his views on business, Ritesh’s said,
At the age of 19, I was clear about one thing – I did not want to build something that was another business. I wanted to create something that created a real impact. And if I lost out, I would have great learning […] I will not build something that one thousand people kinda like, I will build something that 100 people will fall in love with.
Meanwhile, ’20 under 20′ Thiel Fellowship selected Ritesh in 2013 and awarded a sum of $100,000 to fund his startup.
Moreover, Ritesh Agarwal is only Indian to have won the Theil Fellowship to date.
AND OYO ROOMS WAS BORN
Ritesh Agarwal re-branded Oravel as OYO Rooms which refers to On Your Own Rooms in 2013.
OYO Rooms aimed at providing a budget-friendly hotel that fulfills all the needs of customers. It was like a low budget hotel with more facilities.
Following the fellowship, OYO Rooms received seed fundings from some of the biggest investors such as Sequoia Capital India Advisors, Softbank group, Greenoak Capital, Lightspeed India and DSG Consumer Partners.
Very soon, OYO rooms took hotel industry by storm with their unique and creative concept.
As mentioned before, OYO rooms which initially started as a single hotel in Gurgaon now has over 8500 hotels across 230 cities.
To emphasize, OYO Rooms doesn’t own any of these hotels. They just tie up with various hotels and take over a few rooms -which will then be converted to OYO rooms.
In addition to India, OYO Rooms has also spread its network in 3 other countries as well.
Commenting on OYO Rooms Ritiesh says,
The idea was to make small hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and amenities more accessible to travellers. If I were to describe OYO in just 3 words, it would be – Standardized, Affordable, and Technology Driven.
Today, OYO Rooms is a multi-million dollar company and has won several national and international accolades which include Business World Young Entrepreneur Award, TIE Lumis Business Excellence Awards, Lufthansa ET Now Runway to Success Award and India International Travel Mart Award.
OYO ROOMS BET ON QUALITY SERVICE
Ritesh Agarwal’s OYO rooms strive to provide quality rooms for travelers with best of facilities and amenities at minimal prices.
Their rooms are well-organized, attractive with exquisite features like AC, TV, hygienic foods, free Wi-fi and clean washrooms with a toiletry kit in each room.
OYO rooms stand by their words as they value customers needs and expectations.
All you have to do is very simple,
- Download OYO app on your smartphone or go to their online portal at www.oyorooms.com.
- Choose your preferred hotel rooms.
- Book them with just a click of the mouse.
RITESH AGARWAL’S ACHIEVEMENTS
A college dropout who once wanted to sit for engineering exams turned his back on it and became a millionaire by the age of 21.
It was all possible only because of his strong grit and determination towards his goal.