Impact - - FEATURE -

Acol­lege drop out at 17, en­tre­pre­neur at 19 and a bil­lion­aire at 24, Ritesh Agar­wal’s jour­ney so far is noth­ing short of a fairy tale. He started Oyo Rooms in 2013 with the aim of pro­vid­ing safe, clean and af­ford­able ho­tel rooms to peo­ple. Five years down the line, Oyo has be­come a mem­ber of the cov­eted uni­corn club, In­dia’s sec­ond most val­ued start-up af­ter Paytm. With an en­vi­able list of in­vestors in­clud­ing Light­speed Ven­ture Part­ners, Se­quoia Cap­i­tal and Greenoaks Cap­i­tal, and most re­cently Ja­pan’s SoftBank Vi­sion Fund in­vest­ing $1 bil­lion in Oyo, its val­u­a­tion cur­rently stands at a lit­tle less than $5 bil­lion.

Agar­wal’s en­trepreneurial story has been fas­ci­nat­ing. He dropped out of col­lege be­cause a struc­tured and ar­bi­trary fash­ion of learn­ing wasn’t really his cup of tea. While he did en­rol him­self in the Univer­sity of Lon­don’s In­ter­na­tional Pro­gramme by the In­dian School of Busi­ness and Fi­nance, Delhi for the sake of his par­ents, Agar­wal learnt much more by at­tend­ing en­trepreneur­ship events and by trav­el­ling across the coun­try to re­search and strengthen his busi­ness idea.

What started from a sin­gle ho­tel in Gu­ru­gram has to­day ex­panded to 8,500 prop­er­ties. Oyo has also launched in China, where it aims to be­come the largest ho­tel chain. Sub­se­quently, it has plans to en­ter the UK and other Euro­pean coun­tries, as well. Agar­wal is also eye­ing the Ja­pan mar­ket, with plans to en­ter it ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games. By 2023, the 24-year-old Agar­wal aims to turn his ven­ture into the world’s largest ho­tel chain. Agar­wal’s is an in­spir­ing story of turn­ing one’s dream into a re­al­ity.

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