Everyone knows how difficult it can be to just live at your relative’s house, particularly if there are so many of you living there and there’s little space for everyone to have privacy or do things you want to do on your own.
Ritesh Agarwal got tired of living in such a difficult situation. So, he decided to go out and build himself a pad. He would later open a business called OYO Hotels, developing and renting out pads. He managed to grow it to such a big business that he now owns over 43,000 units and is worth $1 billion! Isn’t that incredible?
Fighting for the Remote
It all began when he grew tired of having to fight for the remote control at his relative’s house.
His family hails from Southern Odisha, India, where they own a small shop. But age 13, he moved out of their home to sell SIM cards in New Delhi. While he first tried going to school, he later dropped out because he was not doing well in his studies. He lived with his relatives but soon found himself bored and tired of his living situation.
This would bring him motivation to build OYO Hotels.
“It was because I couldn’t have the TV remote control at relatives’ homes (that I thought of starting OYO Rooms). The relatives would want to watch soap operas and I wanted to watch Cartoon Network,” Ritesh shared.
Growing His Business
Ritesh decided to move out, renting a small pad so he could be independent and, well, have the remote to himself. Then, he thought that other people might have the same problem. He approached a struggling hotel owner to offer OYO Rooms wherein he would advertise the hotel rooms for the hotel owners.
This worked out well and the hotel soon got many clients.
Seeing that a lot of cheap hotels lack good hygienic practices, he decided to work on updating budget hotels by building Oravel Stays, a budget-friendly yet clean and nice hotel. From a business of updating and reselling hotel rooms, he expanded his business to OYO Properties as he began investing in more hotel rooms.
OYO Properties added one to two hotels per day in the first few months and to date, the company has more than 43,000 hotels in 800 cities around the world, with over 20,000 employees. Ritesh’s current investors include Airbnb, Sequoia Capital India, SoftBank, and Greenoaks Capital.
What is OYO Properties?
OYO Rooms, also known as Oyo Homes & Hotels, is an Indian hotel chain. It is the world’s third largest and fastest growing hospitality chain of leased and franchised hotels, homes and living spaces. It was founded by Ritesh Agarwal in 2013 and initially consisted mainly of budget hotels.