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Ritesh Agarwal is the founder and CEO of OYO rooms, one of the world’s largest hospitality chains of leased and franchised hotels, home and living spaces. He is also one of the youngest people to achieve the one billion mark in India.

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Agarwal was born into a Marwari family in Bissam, Cuttack, Odisha, India, and grew up in Titlagarh. He had always had a passion for entrepreneurship from his childhood. He was also intelligent in terms of tech and started coding at the young age of 8. When he found out that college wasn’t the place that aided his entrepreneurial streak, he dropped out and moved to Delhi to pursue his dreams. In 2011, he launched Oravel Stays, an Airbnb-like platform, in 2011, and later renamed it to OYO in 2013

The Brand Design of OYO

OYO stands for On Your Own, and the idea behind it was to provide standardized, affordable, and quality accommodation to budget travelers across India. Agarwal partnered with independent hotels and guesthouses, renovated them, and standardized their amenities and services. He also created a mobile app and website for customers to book rooms and manage their reservations.

OYO soon expanded to other countries, such as China, Malaysia, Nepal, Indonesia, UAE, UK,USA, and more. Agarwal’s vision and innovation earned him several accolades and recognition. He was the first resident Asian to receive the Thiel Fellowship, a $100,000 grand from PayPal co-founder Peter Theil, 2013. He was also featured in Forbes 30 under 30 list for Asia in 2016. He became the Youngest Shark to be featured in Shark Tank India in 2024.

The Revenue Model of OYO

OYO is a network of budget hotels that partners with non-standardized hotels and leases some of their rooms for a fixed period of time. Then, OYO renovates and standardizes the rooms according to its brand and resells them to customers through its website and app. OYO’s working principle is based on blocking the hotel rooms by paying the whole rent in advance, and then offering them at discounted prices to customers. OYO also ensures the quality and service of the rooms by setting certain standards and guidelines for the partner hotels. 

Ritesh Agarwal is a role model for many young Indians who want to pursue their dreams and make a difference in the world. He has shown that with passion, perseverance, and innovation, anything is possible. He has also shown that OYO is not just a business, but a mission to make travel accessible and affordable for everyone.

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