Ritesh Agarwal

Ritesh Agarwal is an Indian entrepreneur and the founder of OYO, one of the world’s largest hospitality chains. Born on November 16, 1993, in Bissam Cuttack, Odisha, India, Agarwal’s journey from a small town to a global business leader has been nothing short of extraordinary. Through his innovative thinking and relentless determination, Agarwal has revolutionized the hospitality industry, making affordable accommodation accessible to millions of travelers worldwide.


NameRitesh Agarwal
PositionFounder and CEO
BirthdateNovember 16, 1993
EducationSt. Johns Senior Secondary School, Rayagada, Odisha
Indian School of Business and Finance, New Delhi
Dropout from University of London
Notable AwardsForbes 30 Under 30 (Asia) in 2016, 2018, and 2019
Hurun India Rich List (Youngest self-made billionaire) in 2020
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Start-up) in 2018
Notable VenturesLaunched Oravel Stays (now OYO Rooms) in 2013 at the age of 19
Expanded OYO globally, operating in over 80 countries
Raised significant funding from SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, and other investors
Launched OYO Townhouse and OYO Home
Acquired companies like Leisure Group, @Leisure Group, and Hooters Casino Hotel
Key ContributionsRevolutionized the budget hotel industry in India with a standardized and technology-driven approach
Pioneered the concept of “OYOfication” to provide consistent quality across properties
Utilized technology and data analytics to optimize hotel operations
Expanded OYO’s presence to various segments including budget hotels, vacation rentals, and co-working spaces
Focused on global expansion, particularly in Southeast Asia, China, and Europe

Early Life and Education

Agarwal grew up in a middle-class family and demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. While still in high school, he started a venture called Oravel Stays, an online marketplace for budget accommodation. This experience laid the foundation for his future endeavors in the hospitality industry.

Agarwal pursued his education at the Indian School of Business and Finance, where he dropped out after a short period to focus on his entrepreneurial pursuits. His passion for creating disruptive solutions and his ability to think outside the box set him on a path to reshape the way people experience travel.

Founding OYO

In 2013, at the age of 19, Agarwal founded OYO with the vision of providing affordable and standardized accommodations to travelers across India. The idea behind OYO was to aggregate and franchise budget hotels, transforming them into well-designed and quality-assured spaces for guests. Agarwal’s innovative model attracted significant attention and investment, propelling the rapid expansion of OYO.

Expansion and Global Impact

OYO’s success in India led Agarwal to set his sights on international markets. He expanded OYO’s operations to several countries, including China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and many others. Agarwal’s global vision and relentless drive to improve the hospitality experience resulted in OYO becoming one of the world’s largest hotel chains.

Under Agarwal’s leadership, OYO introduced various tech-driven solutions to enhance customer experience. The company’s mobile app enables seamless booking, check-in, and check-out processes, and their proprietary property management system streamlines hotel operations. Agarwal’s commitment to providing affordable and quality accommodations has earned OYO a loyal customer base and recognition as a disruptive force in the industry.

Recognition and Awards

Agarwal’s entrepreneurial achievements have garnered significant recognition and accolades. In 2018, he became the first resident Indian to be awarded the Thiel Fellowship, a prestigious program that supports and mentors young entrepreneurs. He was also featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2016 and 2018. Agarwal’s leadership and contributions to the hospitality industry have established him as a prominent figure in the global business community.

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