When I was starting I had this conviction of now or never: Ritesh Agarwal
A kernel of an idea born during his teenage years came to fruition when Ritesh Agarwal onboarded the first hotel [in Gurugram] owner on OYO’s platform. Since then, there has been no looking back for him. “I had this hunger to keep going which is why a lot of the teething troubles in the initial days didn’t bother me so much,” says Agarwal. Today, the SoftBank-backed online hotel aggregator has a network of 1.58 lakh hotels on its platform, across 35 countries including India, the U.S., Latin America, U.K., south-east Asia and the Middle East. Agarwal points out that during the initial years of building the business, he had few learnings—fundamental understanding of product-market fit, technology and talent. “If we had not invested in technology at the right time our ability to grow would have been limited,” he adds.
With over 100 million downloads, OYO is the third most downloaded travel app worldwide during the first quarter of 2021 after Booking.com and Airbnb, according to App Annie. With a valuation of approximately $9.6 billion, OYO is one of India’s most-valued startups.