Self Made Millionaires of India : Ritesh Agarwal

Anant Ambani speech started trending on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon with a video of his speech circulating online with funny captions. His facial expressions while delivering the speech were being mocked at.  He obviously is getting “the Rahul Gandhi treatment”. He is being trolled mainly due to the fact that he is an Ambani, the synonym for rich in India. Let’s look at the story of a boy who in spite of being from a humble background went on to become the youngest billionaire of India. Yes, you guessed it right it’s Ritesh Agarwal, founder of Oyo Rooms.

Humble Beginnings

Ritesh was born to a normal business family in Orissa. He attended the Sacred Heart School at Raigarh Orissa. Ritesh had a keen interest in programming since his school days. He borrowed his elder brother books to quench his thirst for programming. He mainly learned how to code using the Internet.

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Came to Delhi

In 2011 Ritesh moved to Delhi. He had strong intentions of starting something of his own. He wanted to qualify S.A.T, which never happened. Ritesh used to read vigorously about Startups, entrepreneurs, businesses especially AIRBNB. Ritesh joined the University of London’s course at Indian Business school and left it after three days, to fulfill his craving need to start his own venture.

The beginning of Ritesh’s Venture

Ritesh always felt that budget hotels in India didn’t even meet the basic needs of budget travelers.

keeping the above idea in mind he started his first venture in 2012 “Oravel Stays” it was an aggregator of bed and breakfast stays across India.  He raised a funding of 30 Lakhs from Venture Nursery. With enough money in his pocket, he started working on his newly found interest. Meanwhile, he presented his idea at the Thiel fellowship a global contest for students under the age of 22. He managed to reach the ten finalists and received a sum of $100,000 from Peter Thiel(Founder Paypal, Thiel was an early investor to facebook).

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Trembling Times

After the Thiel fellowship, Ritesh started to work more intensely on his venture.But to his hard luck, their business model didn’t seem to be picking up.  Ritesh even got Manish Sinha of Gurgaon based cinnamon stays as their co-founder, eventually, Manish had to quit because nothing seemed to happen.  That when Ritesh went into the Thinking mode and found out this:

The biggest problem while traveling was to find a good, affordable and available hotel to stay in. But every time the traveler ended up in a crapy hotel with crapy food.

Birth of Oyo

Ritesh decided to make an online yet social community to bring information about all good places together on one platform. So as a last resort he altered his idea and relaunched Oravel as OYO  Rooms. The name OYO means On Your Own  the objective of OYO was:

To create India’s largest chain of efficient and standard hotel rooms .

Rise of India’s Largest Hotel Chain

Oyo was getting fundings from various venture capitalists. The main thing was that they were getting approximately Rs. 1 crore bookings per month. Since then OYO hasn’t stopped it is now nearly in every city in India. The android app of OYO has over 5 million downloads.

Well, Ritesh was one of the rare persons who not only dreamt big but kept a vision to achieve bigger. His story is a perfect example of how young minds can achieve big without having a formidible family background.