Launched in 2013 in India, OYO is the largest hospitality chain in the country. It is also the fastest growing hospitality company with a wide network of franchised and leased hotels, homes and other living spaces. In India, OYO has properties in more than 230 cities, covering all metro cities and leading tourist destinations, pilgrimage sites and leisure hubs.
While India operations are its mainstay, the company has expanded operations globally as well. As of now, OYO is present in 18 countries around the world. It is ranked as the world’s 6th largest chain of franchised hotels, living spaces and work spaces. OYO network includes more than 23,000 properties across 800+ cities globally.
The idea for OYO came to founder Ritesh Agarwal when he noticed the lack of standardization and quality in budget hotels across the country. Back in 2011, Ritesh Agarwal had shifted to Delhi. He launched Oravel Stays, which can be described as the Indian version of AirBnB. As he toured across the country to grow his business, he stayed at various budget hotels and living spaces. He soon realized that quality and standardization were missing in such hotels and there was significant scope for improvement.
Using technology to his advantage, Ritesh launched OYO in 2013. According to Ritesh, OYO is short for ‘On Your Own’. He said that he wanted to have his own room and remote control and avoid staying at relatives’ homes, which motivated him to launch OYO Rooms. Over the last six years, OYO has expanded operations to several countries including United States, Japan, China, UK, Brazil, UAE, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Nepal.
OYO has received total investments worth USD 1.7 billion through 13 rounds of funding. It is among the Indian startups that have achieved the ‘Unicorn’ status. Top investors include SoftBank Group, Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed India, Greenoaks Capital, China Lodging Group and Hero Enterprise. OYO is currently valued at $10 billion.
OYO has made several acquisitions over the past six years. These include Novascotia Boutique Homes, AblePlus Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Weddingz, Innov8 Coworking, Qianyu Islands, Leisure Group, and Danamica. Some of these are India-based companies while others are from foreign countries.
OYO competes with other tech-backed hospitality companies such as Treebo, Fabhotels, Zenrooms, Trivago, Yatra, Cleartrip, Expedia, Reddoorz, and Vistarooms.
About the Founder:
OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal easily qualifies for being a maverick and a young achiever. He had launched his first startup at age 18 and became a dollar millionaire when he was just 22 years of age.
Agarwal comes from a small town named Bissam Cuttack in Odisha, where he used to sell SIM cards. He is among the entrepreneurs that don’t have a prestigious degree from a reputed college. Agarwal was a college dropout and considering his achievement of launching a business at a young age, he was awarded the esteemed Peter Thiel fellowship. The fellowship had reward money of $100,000, most of which Agarwal used for his business.
It’s quite ironical to see that a college dropout is now managing a global team that has folks from IIMs, IITs and other Ivy League management institutes. Agarwal’s hands-on approach is one of the key factors for his phenomenal success as an entrepreneur.