This year is harsh for businesses. While entrepreneurs are struggling to keep their businesses afloat, the poster boy of Indian startups, Ritesh Agarwal feels self-reflection is critical for any entrepreneur in these tough times.
Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO Hotels & Homes, which is one of India’s most valuable startups, pointed out that self awareness is a defining trait for entrepreneurs especially in this year of pandemic. “Amid Covid-19, I feel self-reflection is the most important thing for any entrepreneur,” he said at the TiE Global Summit, a three-day virtual conference organised by the Hyderabad chapter of the IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE), a non-profit organisation based in Silicon Valley.
The rapid spread of the Coronavirus has had a severe impact on the global corporate landscape, and the startup sector is no exception. With travel and mobility restricted. the hospitality sector was one of the worst hit. OYO—whose primary revenue model is based on leasing and franchising of hotels, homes, and living spaces—was caught in the eye of the storm. In fact, even before the pandemic struck, things weren't hunky dory for the company. In January, it went through a round of restructuring, letting go of almost 15%-20% of its workforce in India, and later the virus exacerbated its troubles. According to recent media reports quoting sources, OYO has laid off about 300 people across a few functions.
OYO currently manages around a million rooms across the world, which includes markets such as India, Europe and South-East Asia, and in pockets of China and the U.S.
The session at TiE’s virtual summit on Tuesday evening was also attended by Sumant Sinha, chairman and managing director, ReNew Power, one of India’s largest green energy firms, and Yashish Dahiya, co-founder and chief executive of PolicyBazaar, an online insurance aggregator.
Sinha, whose entry into entrepreneurship wasn’t a planned move feels it is not just about making money. “I want to create something that is of lasting value. I don’t want to do something flaky and just to make some money for myself. I want to create an institution,” said Sinha at the virtual event, adding that his long-term goal is to “create the Infosys of the clean energy business.”
Agreeing with Agarwal, Sinha further highlighted that introspection is crucial. “The constant questioning of yourself and the self awareness that you have to bring to the table is perhaps one thing that differentiates an entrepreneur from others,” he added. Goldman Sachs backed ReNew Power which earlier had a plan for IPO in India is currently exploring an overseas listing.