Explain The Circumstances Under Which Ritesh Agrawal Left His Education
An Indian national, Agarwal skipped out on college as part of the Thiel Fellowship, a program funded by billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel to provide grants to a handful of teens pursuing business ideas.
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Is Ritesh Agarwal a dropout?

Early years – Ritesh Agarwal was born in a Marwari family in Bissam Cuttack, Odisha, India and brought up in Titilagarh, Ritesh comes from a family that used to run a small shop in Southern Odisha city called Rayagada and his schooling was completed from Sacred Heart School in Rayagada.
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What did Ritesh Agarwal study?

The Journey of Ritesh Agarwal – Ritesh Agarwal was born in Rayagada, Orissa. He went to the Sacred Heart School in Rayagada. Right from his school days, Ritesh was inclined towards computers, software and coding.

In 2009, Ritesh left for Kota with an intention to get an entry in top IIT colleges. Later, he realized Kota wasn’t a place to learn coding and hence gave up on his coding dream. He was left with a lot of spare time, so he started working on a book: ‘Indian Engineering Colleges: A Complete Encyclopaedia of Top 100 Engineering Colleges’, This was a hit.

At the age of 16, he was among the 240 students who were selected for the Asian Science Camp held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai.

Ritesh Agarwal was among 20 students under the age of 20 years who received the Thiel Fellowship. He received a sum of $100,000 over two years as well as guidance and resources to drop out of college and create a start-up.

Since Ritesh used to travel a lot, amid his trips, he stayed in different hotels. This gave him a realization about the poor hospitality facilities he got at different places. This motivated him to create an accommodation system where people can get the best rooms, food, staff, and other services in a given budget.

He created Oravel Stays in 2011, an aggregator of breakfast and bed stays, inspired by Airbnb’s model. “Leaders shouldn’t just build and accumulate wealth but give back to society.” – Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes In 2013, Oravel Stays was relaunched as OYO Hotels & Homes to create India’s largest chain of affordable, standardized hotels.

Also, Read – How OYO Uses Technology
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What are the characteristics of Ritesh Agarwal?

The Big Five characteristics (namely, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability and Openness ) have been used to analyze Ritesh Agarwal characteristics as an entrepreneur.
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Why is Ritesh Agarwal successful?

How Ritesh Agarwal started OYO – Ritesh was a tech freak from a very young age as he started coding when he was just 10 years old. Another of his passion was to travel around the world. While he travels across India, he realizes that there is a need for affordable hotels which provides decent services in India.

The affordable hotels do not provide necessary services such as AC, Wi-Fi, comfortable beds and breakfast facilities. This gave him a hunch to do something to solve this problem so he combined his love for travel with his obsession with technology to make something useful. It was difficult for him at the beginning as he does not know anything about entrepreneurship but as he developed his plan and showed it to some investors he received a funding of $100,000 which helped him to kick start his entrepreneurial journey.

Entrepreneurship is not a destination, its journey where one has to keep on learning and improving their knowledge and skill set. Ritesh started his journey by launching Oravel Stays, which helped people to locate and book affordable hotels near them.

  1. This directory of affordable hotels was helping travellers to find pocket-friendly hotels but it was not serving the purpose for which Ritesh started this company.
  2. Soon he realizes that to solve this problem he needs to have an in-depth research about the hospitality services so he began to travel across India and visited almost hundreds of hotels.

After all this, he found that the major problems in the hospitality industry are their non-standard services and unpredictability so he decided to solve these problems with the help of OYO. Many people don’t know that “OYO stands for On Your Own”. Ritesh then updated his old business model and converted it into a much better one which is now known to everyone as OYO hotels.
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Why do couples use OYO?

‘Ma’am, you have a local id, we cannot give you a room.’ OYO rooms have come to the rescue. Their app features a ‘relationship mode’ which helps users find hotels that are couple-friendly, that is, they allow unmarried couples even with local ids to check in without any hassles.
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Is OYO still in loss?

Hospitality firm Oyo has reported revenue from operations of Rs 1,459.3 crore in first quarter of the financial year 2023 as per an addendum filed with Sebi. Its restated loss for the quarter from continuing operations was at Rs 414 crore, even as the company claimed it was its maiden EBITDA-positive quarter.

  • As per the latest financials filed with Sebi, the company reported Rs 7 crore adjusted EBITDA in the quarter.
  • Oyo said its revenue from operations went up 21% to Rs 4781.4 crore in financial year 2022 from Rs 3962 crore in financial year 2021 due to recovery in travel demand as restrictions on movement lifted across its key markets.

Its restated loss for FY22 from continuing operations was at Rs 2140 crore, down from Rs 4,103 crore in FY21. The firm reported a 47% growth in its gross bookings value per hotel in Q1FY23 at Rs 3.25 lakh versus Rs 2.21 lakh for FY22. The filing attributes this to the recovery in travel demand due to the easing of travel and domestic movement restrictions in the markets where it operates.

  1. As per the reported financials, Oyo’s total costs were at Rs 6,984.0 crore in FY22 as against Rs 6,937.0 crore in FY21.
  2. Oyo has claimed its general and administrative expenses reduced 44.4% from Rs 927 crore in FY21 to Rs 515.4 crore in FY22.
  3. The employee expenses, net of Esop-based compensation, also reduced 26.5% to Rs 1,117.2 crore in FY22 from Rs 1,520.4 crore in FY21.

Oyo said its ‘storefronts’ were at 1.68 lakh at the end of Q1FY23, up from 1.57 lakh at the end of FY21. As per the filing, the company acquisitions included that of Croatian vacation rental company Direct Booker.
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Why did Ritesh left Rakhi?

Rakhi Sawant Reveals Why She Separated From Husband Ritesh Rakhi Sawant is going through a difficult time in her personal life after announcing her divorce from Ritesh. The TV celebrity has finally spoken up about her divorce and explained why she took such a drastic decision.

Sawant said in an interview with ET Times that Ritesh fled their house because he doesn’t want to live with her. Sawant revealed that she and Ritesh had moved into her Mumbai home after ‘Bigg Boss 15’ ended. However, Ritesh abruptly packed his belongings and fled the house, claiming that he had not divorced his first wife and that he is now facing legal troubles as a result.

Sawant further said that Ritesh has experienced a significant loss in his company as a result of his involvement on ‘Bigg Boss 15.’ This isn’t the first time Ritesh has acted inappropriately with Sawant. The viewers saw the rift between the pair and Ritesh’s harsh behaviour towards Rakhi Sawant inside the ‘Bigg Boss 15’ home as well.

  • Rakhi attempted to keep her relationship intact while competing on Bigg Boss.
  • Rakhi has now taken a brave move by ending her namesake relationship.’ When asked about the reason for taking this big step, Sawant said, “After coming out of the Bigg Boss house, when I got to know that he has a wife and a kid, my heart broke.

I cannot be unfair to a woman and a child. I am coming to terms with the fact that he has left me and everything has ended.”‘ Sawant also remembered her experience with Ritesh. Ritesh and her met online and communicated for six months. Ritesh used to email his whereabouts, bank records, and other important documents to win Sawant’s trust.

  1. Ritesh proposed to Sawant after six months of conversing.
  2. Sawant agreed since she needed a mate, and they married three years ago.
  3. Fans, on the other hand, never believed Sawant and assumed it was a marketing gimmick.
  4. Sawant persuaded Ritesh to participate in Bigg Boss 15 to make everyone believe.
  5. Sawant and Ritesh’s marriage, however, was unlawful because Ritesh never divorced his previous wife.

Ritesh has a child from his first marriage as well. Ritesh had previously blamed his first wife for not leaving him. : Rakhi Sawant Reveals Why She Separated From Husband Ritesh
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What were the four main problems because of which OYO changed its business model?

FOUNDER – OYO ROOMS – The man behind the great startup which is popular as OYO Rooms of Oyo rooms is Ritesh Agrawal. Ritesh Agarwal was born and brought up an in a middle-class Marwari family. He was born in Bisham in Cuttack, Orissa in the year 1993 on 16th November.

  1. Ritesh started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 17.
  2. He dropped out of his college, in the year 2012, in the same year he launched Oravel Stays Pvt.Ltd.
  3. Oravel Stays Pvt.Ltd was Ritesh Agarwal’s first startup.
  4. He designed this company for customers to enjoy the platform for enabling listing and booking of budget accommodation.

Being a passionate traveller, he soon realized that the budget accommodation sector lacked many things. Therefore, in 2013 he transformed Oravel to OYO Rooms with the key vision of offering affordable and standardized accommodations. Undoubtedly, he achieved so much in such a short span of time.

He is a great inspiration for the people who believe success is earned only after one has years and years of experience. Hence, his achievements are worth knowing. Achievements of Ritesh Agarwal Ritesh Aggarwal, at the age of 24 was India’s biggest entrepreneur. He has won many national as well as international awards.

I have mentioned a few awards that he has won :

  • TiE-Lumis Entrepreneurial Excellence award in 2014
  • Business World young entrepreneur award
  • Forbes “30 under 30” in the consumer tech sector
  • Top 50 entrepreneurs in 2013 by TATA First Dot powered by NEN awards

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What did Ritesh Agarwal learn at Kota?

Ritesh, the wunderkind. Born in Bissamcuttack, a village in Rayagada district of Odisha, Ritesh started coding software when he was eight years old. At 16, Ritesh was among 240 children selected to be part of the Asian Science Camp held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai.

The camp is an annual forum for pre-collegiate students, aimed at promoting discussion for the betterment of science in the region. When he was 17, Ritesh authored a best-selling book; The Encyclopaedia of Indian Engineering Colleges. When he was 17, he became the youngest chief executive officer (CEO) in India.

Of a company called Worth Growth Partners. The same year he went broke. He spent several nights on the stairs leading to his flat in Masjid Moth in New Delhi because his landlord wouldn’t let him in before he paid his dues. When he was 18, he founded Oravel, an Indian version of the online rental site Airbnb,

The same year, he secured funding of ₹ 30 lakh from VentureNursery, an accelerator which brought together a bunch of storied investors to nurture start-ups. When he was 19, Ritesh was selected for the Thiel Fellowship—a global contest in which he was the only winner from India. Started by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, the founder and former CEO of PayPal Inc., the fellowship is intended for students under the age of 20.

It offers them $100,000 over two years (about ₹ 2.7 lakh per month), as well as guidance and other resources, to drop out of school and create a start-up. When he was 19, Ritesh keenly watched and learnt the spirit of entrepreneurship from Valley legends such as Thiel; Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors Inc., and Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and founding president of Facebook Inc.

  • When he was 19, he chucked the idea of Oravel, the Airbnb clone, and changed his business to OYO Stays, a marketplace for branded budget hotels, just as Olacabs is a marketplace for cabs.
  • When Ritesh was 19, OYO Stays received funding of ₹ 4 crore from Lightspeed Venture Partners (LSVP) and DSG Consumer Partners, Singapore, at a pre-money valuation of ₹ 14 crore.

Pre-money refers to the valuation of a company prior to investment or financing. When he was 20, OYO Stays received funding of $6 million (about ₹ 36 crore) from Sequoia Capital and LSVP at a pre-money valuation of $60 million. When he was 20, Ritesh finally gave up on landlords.

The always suspecting ones, worried that he would bring girls to their flats. He moved into an OYO room in Gurgaon. Over the last four years, Ritesh has been covered by the media extensively. Pieces on him have appeared in this newspaper, The Economic Times, The Hindu, The Times of India, Reuters, CNBC Awaaz, Business Standard, Business Insider, yourstory.com, nextbigwhat.com and medianama.com.

On 16 November 2014, Ritesh turned 21. This writer and Ritesh chatted for more than eight hours over two days. On what it feels to be 20, the story of Oravel, Ritesh’s growing up days, building an empowered organization, the burden of expectations and the irritating culture of calling just about anyone in Delhi ‘Sir’.

  1. On 7 November 2014, at about 1.15pm, the interview ended.
  2. At 3:09pm, Ritesh sent out an email to Manish Sinha, a 42-year-old former colleague.
  3. Subject: Newspaper.
  4. HiReaching out that there is a reporter from Mint who is in town and wanted to know about the split, as per our agreement I stuck to it and said that we have a gentleman’s agreement and can’t speak anything on that and closed.

This is just letting you know in case he reaches out.” Only, this writer had already met Sinha. A while back. After a month of hounding. ‘Grey zones’ “See, Ritesh is a gifted and talented person. I genuinely believed in his ability and story when he first signed me up as a co-founder,” he said.

  1. But later there was this other side to his personality that surfaced.
  2. Many things that happened are unethical and I have lived with them not fully knowing or realizing what had gone on.
  3. Though I discovered it somewhat late I feel that the complete story—with his grey zones and his propensity for unfair play—needs to be told.” But he is just 20, right? “Yes but fundamental flaws in character can in time override great talent and cause larger damage.

He might do the same thing again if not checked.” It is quite likely that you’ve heard this story before. Or read about it. Or been a part of it. It happened at Facebook, At Twitter, At redBus, This is that story and more. A co-founder booted out, employees not given their due and hung out to dry, pieces of paper with informal promises of a stake, a charismatic founder’s attempt to wipe the slate clean, exaggerated pitches, cold and calculated interference of venture capital firms, their sanctimonious contracts and clauses, and the world of make-believe valuations.

  • In reporting this story, Mint conducted interviews with most of the protagonists (hey, everyone is a good guy, right?) and pored over several documents, agreements and email correspondence between employees and investors.
  • The meeting—6 November 2014.
  • There is a bit of a crisis.
  • At Oravel.
  • Inside Room No 325, B-2 Tower, Spaze IT Park, Gurgaon.

It’s been five days since the start of the month, but employees have not received their salaries. The problem: in the documents filed with the bank, Ritesh’s signatures did not match, so Yes Bank Ltd did not credit the amount. Ritesh needed to sign all the documents all over again.

Ritesh and this writer are discussing how stuff like this always happens at start-ups. “For people who earn on an average about ₹ 15,000 a month and who travel a lot, if the salary is late then the landlord will throw him out. I know how life is after that because I have been there. I want to give autonomy to people.

For the lack of money, their productivity should not be hurt.” After some time, the conversation turns a bit thoughtful. “You know, for us the ethics and values of running a business are very different,” he says. How? “Peter (Thiel) says this to me often.

  1. Ritesh, I am sure you will grow, do well but don’t whatever your culture.”‘ Whatever? “Can I say this?” (Pointing towards the Dictaphone) Yeah.
  2. So, don’t fuck around with your culture.
  3. He says that’s a top thing you’ve got to be concerned about.
  4. Everything else is fine, you will do it and I have trust in you.

And he’s like, you have never worked earlier so you don’t know what should or shouldn’t happen in your organization. This is great advice for us and we try to take that very, very seriously. So we have regular town halls every month. Our first town halls used to be two people. Explain The Circumstances Under Which Ritesh Agrawal Left His Education The back story Ritesh is fair, tall, and thin, with an unkempt look about him. Hair all over the place, shabby beard, dirty nails, dressed in a light blue shirt and dark blue trousers that would have looked better if ironed—the look of a founder putting in 16 hours a day to make his dream come true.

After all, for a kid who’s dreamt of this from as far back as he can remember, it has been a hell of a journey getting this far. The way Ritesh tells it, it is quite a story. His growing up days in Rayagada, Odisha, were about a lot of fun and learning. And very different from those of other kids. His family was well-off so Ritesh would get around ₹ 300 in pocket money every month, even when he was in second grade at the Sacred Heart School.

“Other people’s view was that saving a rupee is a rupee earned,” he says. “But for our family, earning two rupees is a rupee earned. That means spending that 1 rupee to make that happen is what it is. It is a difference of risk-taking appetite, going out and doing stuff.” This view of the world ensured that Ritesh had a lot of time to himself.

  • To figure out what’s inside a floppy disk or a CD.
  • It helped that there was a computer at his father’s office.
  • I basically screwed around with the computer tens of times,” he says.
  • So I would put posters in the printer when I would not find A4 sheets.
  • A lot of these things are just the opportunity to make mistakes.” That’s how he got interested in software.

It started with a kite, then a bird and then the hunger for more. So Ritesh devoured his elder brother’s books. Followed by the school’s curriculum which ensured that languages like Basic and Pascal were taught. And then Google, He believes that programming is nothing but application of logic.

And once you have that, then you can seamlessly move across languages. So software was love. By the time he was in 10th grade, Ritesh knew he wanted to code for a living. The question was how? His idea: engineers, those who go to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), would be coders, right? And where do they go to get into IIT? Kota (the engineering preparation town in Rajasthan).

But seriously, Kota? For coding? “See, I did not have anyone I could have asked if I can go to Kota or not,” he says. “No one in my town had ever gone to Kota. I mean, it was a big deal if people went to Bhubaneswar.” In 2009, Ritesh left for Kota. His dad picked up the tab for his admission to Bansal Tutorials.

  1. Once there, it didn’t take him long to figure that Kota was anything but a place where you could learn coding.
  2. The dream of coding took a backseat.
  3. So did attending coaching classes.
  4. Ritesh had a lot of time.
  5. To do just about anything he wanted.
  6. So he wrote a book.
  7. The Encyclopedia of Indian Engineering Colleges.

He says, “This was like Princeton Review of India,” he says. “It was big on Flipkart, Sold out. A lot of people have bought it. I remember the bookshop inside Bansal had this book and my picture was right on the cover.” And then events. Yes, that. Kota bored him, so very often Ritesh would take a train and head to Delhi.

There he would stay at odd bed & breakfast (B&B) places and attend events and conferences to meet entrepreneurs. He couldn’t afford the registration costs so he would just sneak in. Oravel, OYO In May 2011, he moved to Delhi. For good. With the idea of working on a start-up of his own and preparing for SAT so that he could go to the US for further studies.

Money was not a problem. There were savings from Kota and the pocket money was good; ₹ 15,000 a month. But SAT never happened. After a year of doing really nothing except meeting people and reading about start-ups, especially Airbnb, in February 2012, Ritesh incorporated Oravel.

So I was waking up and staying at B&B properties for almost three months. It was a fun time,” he says. Of course, it was a tough thing starting out. “For a long time, it was just me, Anuj Tejpal (operations) and a couple of interns, that’s it.” Was he doing everything? “Yes.” When did the first employee join? “2012 December after the first round of funding came in.” (VentureNursery) Who was it? “Sahil Arora, a young Amity guy.

He was one of the most amazing guys I have worked with. Did not know how to write an email. But he was the only guy who came in my budget. It was ₹ 8,000.” Two people! How long before the next hire? “A month or two months, maybe. Then some interns joined and Anuj came on board.

  • He was working with ZS Associates before this.
  • So he called our call centre, and back then it was manned by Sahil.
  • So Sahil just gave the phone to me.
  • That’s how we got him on board.” How did he find you? “There was news, right, that Oravel raised funding from VentureNursery.
  • We were doing too many things at the same time.” Soon after, OYO happened.

Taking a cue from online retail companies, Ritesh felt that Oravel, too, should have a private label. Some place where they could monitor the customer experience. Then early in 2013, the Thiel Fellowship happened. After that, there was no looking back. As soon as Ritesh got back from the US in July 2013, LSVP and DSG Consumer Partners invested.

And then in May 2014, Sequoia Capital and LSVP. What started out as a one-person company today employs more than 100 people. It is growing at breakneck speed. People are being added almost on a daily basis and OYO Stays is venturing into other cities such as Bengaluru and Mumbai. It is already present in Gurgaon, Noida and Delhi.

There is little space left in the cramped office. Ritesh is hoping to shift soon to a larger office in the same building on the 6th floor, right now occupied by Cap Gemini SA, That the dream has, in a way, played out can sometimes be frightening. “It is such an exciting journey that I get overwhelmed,” says Ritesh.

There are so many people who are dependent on me. You know, setting expectations, and then feeling afraid. But I am a firm believer in the fact that good work has always been recognized.” Now that’s one hell of a story. Or is it? The storyteller It would be fair to say that sometimes entrepreneurs like to dress up— the idea, the projections, the pain of bootstrapping and even the back story—to make it that one perfect story.

One that would make the world sit up and take notice. But sometimes, it helps to dig a little deeper. For Ritesh’s story, let’s start with the Asian Science Camp held at TIFR in Mumbai in 2010. While Ritesh has maintained that he was invited for it or participated in it—he even wrote about it at http://riteshagar.blogspot.in—the story is a little different.

Mint reached out to TIFR to check if Ritesh was one of the 240 people selected to be part of the camp. No. “We selected some 30 people from India,” said Sumana Amin, camp secretary of the camp in 2010 at TIFR. “There is no one by the name of Ritesh Agarwal on that list.” Now, how about the bestselling book? Ritesh has made that claim in interviews, and also while applying for the Thiel Fellowship.

Also, in Oravel’s early days captured from the company’s web archives: mintne.ws/1xwXVPv Mint reached out to the publisher, G.K. Publications in Rajasthan. The book was anything but a bestseller. “Yes, yes, I remember Ritesh,” says Rijita, who works in the sales department at the company and prefers to use only one name.

  1. The book didn’t do well.
  2. Maybe because of us, because we didn’t push it as much, or the content.
  3. We published only one volume of 1,100 copies.
  4. Books had come back after a year and we had to send it to the market again.” Now, what about the company where Ritesh became the youngest CEO in India? Worth Growth Partners, actually Rational Management Consultancy Pvt.

Ltd. The company was registered on 18 February 2011 at Dhulet, Rajasthan, and has two directors; Jagdish Regar and Asish Agarwal (Ritesh’s elder brother). Mint reached out to VentureNursery (the accelerator where Oravel was incubated) to understand if Ritesh’s claims and association with Worth Growth Partners had showed up in the company’s due diligence while he was inducted into the programme.

“No,” said a senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because VentureNursery is still an investor in Oravel. “This is the first time I am hearing about it. See, but youth comes with passion and immaturity. If something has happened there, then we are not aware of it.” And then, there is the story of Oravel.

“Talk is cheap. Show me the code”: Linus Torvalds.2012 Technology is at the heart of any online business. Be it Facebook, Uber or Airbnb. The code, that is what gives these companies their strategic advantage. So you would almost expect Ritesh, who loved coding so much, to have built a product—perhaps all by himself or with some help.

And to then acknowledge the person. But in Ritesh’s version of Oravel, there is no mention of Kunal Pandya, CEO of NCrypted Technologies, a web development company based out of Rajkot in Gujarat. The website Oravel.com didn’t start with a kid, a laptop and an idea. It started sometime in April 2012 when Ritesh reached out to Pandya to buy a product called BistroStays Enterprise (an Airbnb clone).

There wasn’t enough money, but both agreed to a long-drawn payment structure. Also part of the agreement was that Oravel would specifically give credit to NCrypted Technologies—a footer to the website with a hyperlink—”Powered by NCrypted Technologies”.

  1. Except that the Airbnb clone wasn’t enough.
  2. Ritesh needed customization.
  3. For that Pandya was willing to work and he did initially, but he needed more money.
  4. Before that it was just a static page,” says Pandya.
  5. We started working together but right from the start there were many payment issues.” This was also the time when Ritesh was out in the market looking for funding.

Luckily for him, VentureNursery, an accelerator founded by Shravan Shroff, former promoter of multiplex chain Fame Cinema, and Ravi Kiran, former Starcom MediaVest Group South East and South Asia CEO, was putting together an incubator called ParallelTrack.

Apoorv R. Sharma, executive vice-president at VentureNursery, reached out to him. “We found a guy with passion and fire in the belly,” says the VentureNursery official quoted earlier. “He had slept in 20-30 odd B&Bs, sometimes on the floor, and while some of that may be dramatized, we found him confident and assertive.

So we thought that with some mentoring, he could get a chance and fly.” In April, Ritesh got into the programme. But it came with a condition. He must find a co-founder. Enter Manish Sinha. A former advertising guy, having worked at agencies such as JWT, Ogilvy and Mather and Mudra.

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Sinha (with his wife Shilpi) was leading a quiet life in Delhi running a B&B business called Cinnamon Stays. Ritesh reached out to him to become the co-founder at Oravel. “When he reached out, he never mentioned anything about VN (VentureNursery),” says Sinha. “His pitch was—Ritesh’s software and product brain and Manish’s advertising and marketing brain, if we put it together, we can create a great business.” Sinha was taken in by Ritesh’s charm and passion.

But their arrangement was clear and at the same time, flexible. No salary, and considering Sinha had a home and an existing B&B business to run, his role as a co-founder would be limited to ideating and mentoring. Even as all this was happening, Ritesh was having trouble on the website.

  • So he reached out to two developers (graduates from Georgia Institute of Technology) in Indore— Mohit Jain and Chirag Gupta of Codeautomations.
  • On 29 June, Ritesh sent an email to Gupta.
  • They were interested, but they wanted to mull it over.
  • The partnership Around this time, Ritesh and Sinha started working together.

Ritesh’s flat in Masjid Moth became Oravel’s office and with Sinha’s inputs, a hot B&B destination. The idea: a retro Bollywood theme. “It was more a branding idea from me for Oravel than business. The story of a 19-year-old CEO of a rental company working from a B&B was the PR pitch,” says Sinha.

In August, Ritesh formally introduced Sinha to the folks at VentureNursery in an email. “Dear Shravan, Ravi (Kiran)Manish is inducted as my partner/co-founder in Oravel. We met a year ago (app July) and became good friends by Nov. He brings with himself huge experience of Customer Servicing, Operational Expertise (Thanks to him being #1 B&B in Gurgaon) and Marketing virality.” While at the time he overlooked this tiny detail, Sinha denies that he knew Ritesh since July 2011.

The partnership, though, got the people at VentureNursery excited. It also helped that Kiran, thanks to his background in advertising, had heard of Sinha. Post-mentoring, training and networking, part of the VentureNursery incubation programme, in late September both Ritesh and Sinha travelled to Mumbai to make a pitch to VentureNursery and its set of angels.

The beta product “with search, review and book features (in testing mode)” was Pandya’s Airbnb clone. Slide 3 had pictures of Sinha’s Cinnamon Stays. Claims of 3,000+ listings and 600+ relationships with B&Bs in Gurgaon and Delhi were significantly dressed-up numbers. In fact, at the time, Oravel had a relationship with not more than five property owners.

The listings were picked up from various other booking sites and plugged into Oravel.com. But both Ritesh and Sinha agreed that this is how a pitch is made and that’s how it would be. VentureNursery bought it. As Sinha puts it, his brotherly love for Ritesh was at its best in September 2012.

First, he designed the company’s brand identity, a brown teddy bear. And then when Oravel wasn’t getting enough bookings on the Internet, he came up with the idea for dial-a-room for non-hotels. Most important, the idea of OYO, low-cost standardized inns, was his. In October, after almost two months of due diligence (which included flying down Ritesh’s father from Bhubaneswar to make sure that he wouldn’t push his son into college anytime soon and put the venture in jeopardy, VentureNursery put ₹ 30 lakh into Oravel.

The news that an 18-year-old had secured seed funding for a start-up was splashed everywhere. Oravel grew. Team size? Four. Ritesh, Sinha, Anuj Tejpal (property acquisitions) and Sahil Arora (one-man call centre). On 31 December 2012, the last day for filling up the application form, Ritesh applied for the Thiel Fellowship.

  1. Little did he know that his life was about to change.2013 In February 2013, Jain and Gupta from Codeautomations joined Oravel.
  2. In an email to Ritesh, Jain wrote “It would be best on interest of us and Oravel to work on Equity + cash model.” Ritesh was thrilled.
  3. He replied, “Awesome Mohit – great to hear back.

Looking forward buddy.” Jain and Gupta then flew down to Gurgaon to formalize the relationship. In a letter dated 28 February, on Oravel’s letterhead, Ritesh welcomed them as part of the core management team. And offered “approximately 10-8% (1039-855) shares of the paid up capital of the company”.

  • Plus ₹ 25,000 per month for one designer.
  • The same month, Salil Aggarwal, Anuj Tejpal’s roommate and former colleague at ZS Associates, joined Oravel.
  • Ritesh would often be at our place to discuss business with Anuj,” says Aggarwal.
  • It looked very exciting so when Ritesh and Anuj asked me to join, I was like, sure.” Aggarwal, too, came on board with a promise of an equity stake in the company.

Except, no documentation and no offer letter. Over the next couple of months, the team got cracking on the job. Even as all this was happening, Pandya of NCrypted had been hounding Ritesh for money and for the credit on the Oravel website which had suddenly gone missing.

  1. A couple of cheques had bounced and whenever I would call, he would say, I don’t have any money,” says Pandya.
  2. On 6 March 2013, Ritesh raised this issue in an email to Gupta.
  3. Buddy, this guy from Gujrat has requested us to do the belowshe keeps bugging me with mails for this.
  4. In case, it doesn’t steal our code/database lets paste it and live in peace.” Then, the big news came.

Ritesh had been shortlisted for the Thiel Fellowship and had to fly to San Francisco for an interview and make a pitch for Oravel. The company went into a tizzy making preparations. The work of putting together the presentation and making sure that the website worked on the D-day landed on Jain’s table.

  • On 7 April, (three days before leaving for the US), Ritesh sent an email to Jain.
  • One thing is pretty urgent –Let’s make the earlier code and database we had on the live siteUntil then we can’t afford to have the 20 under-20 guys take a note of we not having a real productwe can use the situation to our advantage in the manner of launching the day we have the final conference (13th).” Ritesh left for San Francisco on 10 April.

The people at the Thiel Foundation were sold on the passion and vision of a 19-year-old from India. The claim: 4,000+ listings, 3,000+ happy nights, 200% growth every month, 40+ country travellers, three members (Tejpal, Gupta and Jain) from top US universities.

  • Both Salil Aggarwal and Jain say that the numbers are far, far dressed up.
  • Why did they agree to it? Again, because well, that’s how it is done.
  • Also, Tejpal never went to college in the US.
  • In May, Ritesh was selected for the Thiel Fellowship.
  • It was big news.
  • Almost overnight, he became the poster boy of entrepreneurship.

VentureNursery arranged for a PR agency for press interviews. On 30 May, Ritesh left for the US. Now back to our story; after Ritesh left for the US, it all went south. Jain and Gupta had been getting a bit jittery. Their offer had still not materialized into a shareholder agreement.

  1. Plus they had been paying the developer ( ₹ 25,000 per month) from their own pockets.
  2. In an email on 6 June, Gupta sent Ritesh a reminder.
  3. The cracks surface Two days later, Ritesh replied saying that he had been busy.
  4. He promised to close the agreements soon and send the cheques.
  5. It’s been amazing working with you guys – look forward to amazing times coming :)” In Delhi, Salil Aggarwal was getting worried too.

He had been working without a salary, except for a few reimbursements for rent and office expenses. He often discussed the issue of a stake with Tejpal but nothing came out of it. Things took an ugly turn in June. Jain sent a long and terse email to Ritesh, saying that they had ceased all other work to focus on Oravel.

“I need to get some sort of written confirmation by you on the stake we agreed mutually, i.e.10 to 8 % (which should have been done earlier).” A day later, Ritesh replied saying that he agreed to it “on the face of it” and would send an “official letter” confirming the arrangement within “next 24hrs”.

Twenty-four hours became a month; the letter never came. The issue was hanging fire in July when Ritesh got back to Delhi. He had been busy in the US. Bejul Somaia, managing director of LSVP, and Ritesh met in the US. In June, Maninder Gulati, vice-president at LSVP, reached out to Sinha’s wife Shilpi to get her perspective on the B&B business.

  1. She directed him to her husband instead.
  2. Immediately, Sinha forwarded that email to Ritesh with a line, “Are we speaking to Lightspeed guys as well?” Ritesh didn’t respond.
  3. Gulati, though, got back to Shilpi.
  4. On 26 June, he replied, “Thanks Shilpiwe are in touch with Manish and Ritesh from Oravel.
  5. Manish, hopefully we will meet you when Ritesh is back.” Sinha and Gulati never met.

In the first week of August 2013, Ritesh and Sinha met at Oravel’s office in Gurgaon. Ten minutes into the meeting Ritesh pushed a paper towards Sinha and asked him to sign it. He then excused himself and stepped out. Sinha picked up the paper, thinking it must be a bill or something.

  1. But as he read it, the colour drained from his face.
  2. The document stated that I would sell all my shares to Ritesh,” says Sinha.
  3. I was furious.
  4. I just flung the paper on the table and walked out.” Later in the day, Ritesh called Sinha to apologize and explain the situation.
  5. He blamed VentureNursery, says Sinha.

“He told me that if I didn’t sell my shares immediately, I would not get any money. And that he was trying to get me a good deal.” After what had happened, Sinha was depressed. He discussed the issue with his wife. Both concluded that the relationship had hit rock-bottom, and if this was what Ritesh and VentureNursery wanted, then he should move on.

Sinha did not reach out to VentureNursery to clarify or discuss this matter, a decision he now regrets. “At the time, I was thinking that I wanted some money for the work I had put in for over a year and not zero money.” On 10 August, a few days after the argument, Ritesh emailed Sinha an apology. “I apologize for the manner in which I carried out the conversation.

I did make a grievous mistakebut I am here to set right and I will do all to make sure we reach that.” On 13 August, Ritesh prepared a document and named it Oravel-Manish Closure. The same day, he signed a term sheet for funding with LSVP. On 16 August, Sinha entered into an agreement to sell his stake (10.15%) to Ritesh.

For ₹ 28 lakh. Sinha had absolutely no idea about the term sheet with LSVP. “All I can say is Ritesh forced me to sell all my shares without disclosing the price and the valuation that he was getting,” says Sinha. VentureNursery claims it had no clue what was going on. After a month of Sinha being booted out, on 19 September Ravi Kiran and Shravan Shroff sent an email to Ritesh.

“Ritesh, we have reviewed the document you sent us on Aug 30 titled ‘Oravel-Manish closure’, which appears to have been created on Aug 13 and which has got a receipt by Manish on Aug 16, along with a cheque for ₹ 200000. This is three days before you wrote to us about the fact that you had signed a term sheet with LSVP.

We find this highly unusual, and in clear contravention of the SHA (shareholder agreement) both of you have signed with the investors. we call upon you to provide us with a clear explanation of the background to this development and the current status. You told us during our call that LSVP would like Manish to exit to create place for another co-founder with franchising experience.

Yet you seemed to have agreed on an exit plan for Manish before LSVP made any investment and without any approval from existing investors. The existing investors have always been under the impression that Manish has been 100% dedicated to Oravel and had agreed to invest with that condition.

Can you please explain when that dedication got diluted and why didn’t think worth your while to seek approval?” An anomaly in the system? Whatever the explanation Ritesh came up with, it was enough for VentureNursery, “Till this day I had no idea that all of this happened,” says Sinha. “I can see that he told me one thing and VN another.

All I can say is that he fraudulently forced me to sell my shares.” And while Sinha’s exit may not have been what in investing lingo is called condition precedent, at least on paper, an LSVP executive admits that it may have been the firm’s idea. In an interview on 20 November, LSVP’s Somaia said that as part of diligence, LSVP met with Ritesh, a few employees and some property owners to understand the dynamics in the company.

  • We did not meet Manish,” he says.
  • Because part of what our background checks revealed that Manish wasn’t really a driver of the company.” In fact, Somaia says that Sinha’s co-founder status has a lot to do with something of an anomaly in the Indian start-up ecosystem.
  • So where in the US, co-founders are actually people who have founded the company, in India, people who have been hired early would also be called co-founders.

“We went to property owners and asked them who is OYO to you?” says Somaia. “We heard Ritesh, Anuj, but not Manish.” “So we boarded up with Ritesh. So what’s the relationship here and how is it going to work. And he and Manish had conversations even prior to that and I won’t get into all of this.

  • So our point to Ritesh was simply, hey look, if this relationship is not going to be one that goes forward.I don’t think it was a CP technically, I haven’t read the legal documents.
  • So we must have said it is better to address all of that now and you would like to have clarity.
  • That this is all addressed before we invest, right!” Even as all this was happening, nobody at Oravel had any clue.

In fact, stressed by their own issues, Jain, Gupta and Salil Aggarwal got on to a conference call early in September 2013. Its outcome was simple. On 24 September, Jain and Gupta quit. They sent out a long email to everyone at Oravel saying they were quitting because even after eight months they hadn’t “received our paper work and shareholder agreement”.

  1. On the one hand, the company claimed it had money from “VN, Theil and now LSVP” and, on the other hand “we don’t receive any” money, they wrote.
  2. Starting 25 September, Salil Aggarwal stopped going to work.
  3. A few days later, four other people quit the company.
  4. Day in, day out’ In an emailed reply to a follow-up question, Ritesh said, “Frankly at one point of time the previous Model (Oravel) wasn’t working and we needed to find a new direction in the business and which didn’t work for some of the employees.

We of course respected their decision to move on. Many others decided to stay back and I am proud to see them leading many parts of our business today.” Did the exits at Oravel show up as a red flag for LSVP? No. Somaia says this is a matter-of-fact situation in the start-up world.

  • Perhaps this is new for you, but we breathe this day in, day out,” he says.
  • To me that is start-ups.
  • They are living organisms.
  • What’s the churn in start-ups? It’s insane.
  • I don’t think there is anything particularly unusual about the churn you are referring to.” How about VentureNursery? Did they bat for the employees? “Nobody escalated this to us,” says the VentureNursery official quoted earlier.

“But then our only point of contact was Ritesh and we do not interfere in an entrepreneur’s day-to-day operations.” And then he explains a little more: “Did we set out to build a successful business? Yes. All of us made 20X on our original investment.

Did we set out to build character? Yes and No. Yes because you know it is a part of institution building. No because you think it is already there. We had no reason to suspect.” To give credit where it is due, Oravel is on to something good. It has a charismatic 21-year-old founder at the helm. And the company has captured the imagination of some of the biggest venture capital firms in the country.

So much so that in less than 10 months, the period between LSVP and Sequoia’s investment, Oravel’s pre-money valuation rose from ₹ 14 crore to ₹ 360 crore. What changed on the ground, in just 10 months, to merit such valuation? “Obviously the company has made progress.

More hotels now than they had. More substance in team. But why do Flipkart’s valuations change 2X in 3 months? It is not because of something fundamental,” explains Somaia. “The business grew,” he adds. “So it currently has somewhere between 40-45 properties. When we invested it had five, maybe. But remember rule 1, venture investors always over-pay for companies because they are buying into the future.

It is an unfortunate aspect of our business but it is the reality. The math doesn’t work.” Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News, More Less
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What is the salary of Ritesh Agarwal per month?

Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal’s salary rises 250% in FY22; firm’s ESOP costs see massive jump Hospitality and travel-tech firm Oyo’s founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Ritesh Agarwal’s salary rose to ₹ 5.6 crore during the financial year ending March 2022, up about a whopping 250% from the total compensation of ₹ 1.6 crore during the year ended March 2021, as per the latest DRHP.

  1. In the year ending March 2020, he took ₹ 21.5 lakh as his annual remuneration.
  2. Meanwhile, for the three month period ended June 30, 2022 (Q1), he has taken a total salary of ₹ 1.4 crore.
  3. Oyo’s total employee stock option compensation (ESOPs) surged to ₹ 647 crore for FY22, over 323% rise as compared to ₹ 153.6 crore for the year ended March 2021 and ₹ 40.2 crore for FY20.

on Monday filed addendum to its earlier submitted draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) to Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) as the company filed fresh financial documents to revive plans for its stock-market debut after cost cuts and a recovery in travel helped it reduce losses.

The numbers showed narrower losses, a rebound in sales and a positive EBITDA for the year through March 2022 and the following three months. The hotel booking company was started in 2013 by Agarwal. The startup began to work with small hotels to standardize everything from bed linen to bathroom shower fittings.

During the pandemic, Agarwal was forced to overhaul the startup’s business model and now supports hotel and vacation home partners with technology and product services, as well as customer support. Hotel owners can self-enroll, and manage bookings and services on its app.

The startup is now focusing on four main regions: India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Europe, where it manages vacation homes and has cut down operations in markets it previously considered crucial, such as the US and China, where its employees now measure in the single digits. In October last year, Oyo had filed its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) to raise ₹ 8,430 crore through initial public offering ().

The company’s proposed issue comprised a fresh issue of equity shares aggregating up to ₹ 7,000 crore and an offer for sale to the tune of ₹ 1,430 crore, as per the DRHP. Catch all the and Updates on Live Mint. Download The to get Daily & Live, : Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal’s salary rises 250% in FY22; firm’s ESOP costs see massive jump
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What kind of entrepreneur is Ritesh Agarwal?

Bio – Ritesh Agarwa is the founder and CEO of OYO and an Indian billionaire entrepreneur. OYO Rooms is India’s largest hotel network, with monthly revenue of $3.5 million and 1,500 employees in 154 cities across the country. Ritesh made history in 2012 by becoming the world’s second-youngest self-made billionaire at 25 years young. ‍
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How did Ritesh Agarwal get the idea of OYO?

Ritesh Agarwal’s solution is a booking app that promises truth in advertising and branded hotels that don’t deliver unpleasant surprises. The chain he started in 2013, Oyo Hotels, has already become the largest in India, a chaotic market worth $4.5 billion, according to New Delhi-based researcher Hotelivate.

  1. Now Agarwal is going overseas with his franchise model, which combines a reservation site with a full stack of services for small hoteliers who want to up their game.
  2. Yesterday the company said it’s raising $1 billion from SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital and other investors to fund expansion in countries including China, where Oyo opened in November,

Last week it started service in the UK, bringing the business to a developed market for the first time. “By 2023, we will be the world’s largest hotel chain,” the 24-year-old founder said in a recent interview at an Oyo hotel in a suburb of New Delhi, where the company is based.

“We want to convert broken, unbranded assets around the globe into better-quality living spaces,” Oyo employs hundreds of staffers in the field who evaluate properties on 200 factors, from the quality of mattresses and linens to water temperature. To get a listing, along with a bright red Oyo sign to hang street-side like a seal of good-housekeeping approval, most hoteliers must agree to a makeover that typically takes about a month.

Oyo then gets 25% of every booking. Rooms usually run between $25 and $85. “Oyo is going all out to build a very large base of hotel partners and become a bona-fide brand,” said Mrigank Gutgutia, an analyst with RedSeer Management Consulting. “Their app model works well because price-conscious travellers who search by location like to feel they have lots of choices.” Agarwal wouldn’t give sales numbers, but he said the number of transactions has tripled in the last year, with 90% coming from repeat travellers – and no money spent on advertising.

There are now 10,000 hotels in 160 Indian cities, with more than 125,000 rooms, listed on the site, he said. That’s about 5 percent of India’s total room inventory, according to RedSeer estimates. “Over 150,000 heads rest on our pillows every night,” said Agarwal, a trim man who tugs at a sore ear as he talks.

Constant airplane travel has given him an ear ache—ne unwanted side effect of the company’s hyper growth. Dirty sheets Not everyone is happy with the Oyo experience. Payal Gupta, a recent guest, was disappointed by her stay at a property near Delhi Airport, which she said felt like a house that had been hurriedly converted into a hotel.

  1. The sheets were dirty and the bathroom was cramped.
  2. It isn’t enough to have Oyo-branded shampoo and moisturizer,” she said.
  3. Gutgutia, the RedSeer analyst, said the company will need a steady stream of capital and an army of people on the ground to maintain standards.
  4. Sustaining a high-quality experience could be a real challenge,” he said.

Indian startups have been on a tear recently, with more than a dozen worth now more than $1 billion, according to researcher CB Insights. Walmart last month paid $16 billion for a majority stake in Flipkart, an online retailer founded in 2007. The funding announced yesterday by Oyo values the business at $5 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified.

That makes the startup India’s second most-valuable, after One97 Communications, owner of Paytm, a digital payments company with financial backing from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. A college dropout in a country where university pedigree is obsessed over, Agarwal has become an unlikely business star, with frequent appearances on televised award shows and a cover story last year in Forbes India.

Agarwal says he never stayed at a hotel until he was picked to represent his school at a trivia competition held in a town a few hours away from home when he was 12. He got the idea for Oyo a few years later, while travelling India on a shoestring budget and lodging at some truly horrible guest houses.

  1. It wasn’t enough to aggregate hotels on a website, you also had to repair them, he realized.
  2. To learn the hotel business from the ground up, he spent a year cleaning rooms at one of them.
  3. In 2013, he got a $100,000 fellowship from Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder who subsidizes students who drop out to start their own companies.

The big break came in 2015, when he got $100 million in venture funding from investors including Silicon Valley’s Sequoia Capital and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. In November, Agarwal brought the business to China, starting with a single listing in the industrial city of Shenzen.

Now, less than a year later, travellers in the world’s most populous country can choose from more than 1,000 Oyo-branded hotels and 87,000 rooms in over 170 Chinese cities. For Agarwal, though, there’s still a small hitch. He says his mother keeps nagging him to take a break from the business and go back to college.

“But why let university interfere with my education?” he said with a laugh. Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates. More Less
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What were the challenges faced by OYO hotel in the beginning of its operation?

Protests By US Hotel Owners – After India, discontent of hotel owners with OYO came to light in the United States of America. In June 2019, OYO Hotels and Homes announced its expansion in the US with over 50 OYO hotels in 35 cities across 10 states. This includes the cities of Dallas, Houston, Augusta, Atlanta and Miami.

  • For further growth of its services, the company has committed to invest $300 Mn over the next few years.
  • This investment will be used to grow in the region, acquire talent, build competency and develop infrastructure.
  • The plan for the growth continues to partner, manage and open the doors to one hotel building per day on average.

However, the success was short-lived as in October, reports surfaced that several US OYO hotel partners raised issues ranging from poor software, loss of revenue as well as criminal activities within rooms that are managed by OYO. The hotels have also alleged ignored or missing payments, even though they had been promised a certain amount as a guarantee by OYO.
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What is the salary of CEO of OYO?

Ritesh Agarwal, the founder and CEO of OYO Hotels & Homes, received remuneration worth ₹5.6 crore for the financial year 2021-22, up about 350% from the previous fiscal year, shows the latest revised draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) filed by OYO Hotels’ parent company Oravel Stays Ltd.

  1. With market regulator SEBI.
  2. Agarwal’s remuneration saw a massive rise in FY22 from FY 2020-21 when he drew total annual compensation worth ₹ 1.6 crore.
  3. A year before that, he took home ₹21.5 lakh.
  4. The significant rise in Agarwal’s pay in FY22 came at a time when the company resorted to cuts across salary & bonus, marketing and other expenses to curb losses.

Abhishek Gupta, OYO group chief financial officer, took home total remuneration worth ₹3.9 crore during FY22, down from ₹7.1 crore he received during FY21. He had received total compensation worth ₹8.7 crore during FY20. The SEBI filing shows Employee Stock Option (ESOP) costs also rose for the company.

During the year ended March 31, 2022, the OYO group incurred ₹9.2 crore on account of repricing of ESOPS. For FY22, the holding company incurred ₹165.2 crore on account of these ESOPs, shows the filing. OYO today filed a revised draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with market regulator SEBI after it had filed initial papers to raise about $1.1 billion in 2021.

The plan was shelved amid a global downturn and the failure of a majority of new-age tech IPOs to impress investors. The issue at that time comprised a fresh issue of equity shares aggregating up to ₹7,000 crore and an offer for sale (OFS) of ₹1,430 crore.

  • OYO’s early backer SoftBank Group Corp holds a 47% stake in the company, while about one-third of the company is owned by founder Ritesh Agarwal.
  • Now OYO is working towards a public issue in the year 2023.
  • The revised DRHP includes the consolidated financial information for the financial years ended March 31, 2021, March 31, 2020, and March 31, 2019, along with certain non-GAAP financial measures and key performance indicators.
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The financials of the hotel aggregator, disclosed in the IPO filing addendum, show a reduction in losses for FY22 from FY21 and Q1 FY23. Its revenue from contracts with customers was ₹3,961.6 crore in FY 2021, which increased by 20.7% to ₹4,781.3 crore in fiscal 2022.

  • OYO’s expenses for fiscal 2020, fiscal 2021, fiscal 2022 and the three-month period ended June 30, 2022, were ₹22,800 crore, ₹6,937 crore, ₹6,984 crore and ₹1,910 crore, respectively, showing a consistent decline.
  • The employee benefits expense also shows a decline from ₹47.6 crore in FY20 to ₹17.4 crore in FY21 but a marginal rise in FY22 at ₹18 crore.

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Can I take a girl to OYO?

Yes. No law in the country denies an unmarried couple a stay in a hotel. However, checking-in a couple is at the discretion of the hotel owners / managers.
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What married couples do at night?

Going For An Evening Stroll – Many couples used to take time after dinner to stroll around town. So if you and your partner are looking for an easy way to bond, consider adding this to your nighttime routine. As you meander down the sidewalk, you’ll naturally focus on the moment and being with each other.
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Is it necessary to be 18+ for OYO?

Are unmarried couples allowed at an OYO? Modified on: Wed, 26 Oct, 2016 at 6:24 PM Many OYO hotels allow unmarried couples. The guests need to be above 18 years of age to be allowed to check-in. To identify these hotels, select “OYO for couples” in the filters when searching a hotel in a city.
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What is the full name of OYO?

What is the full form of OYO Rooms

OYO Rooms stands for On Your Own Rooms. It is India’s largest hotel network which is spread over 199 cities. It is headquartered at Gurugram in Haryana. It aims is to become world’s most loved hotel brand. OYO has more than 6500 hotels which offer standardized and comfortable stay at an unmatched price. OYO started its services with only one hotel in Gurugram and today (as of April 2017) it has around 70,000 rooms in 7,000 hotels throughout India. Mr. Ritesh Agarwal is the founder & CEO of OYO. OYO does not own or operate most of the hotels. It simply ties up with the hotels and ensures the hotels offer quality services to the guests, who book rooms through OYO platform or app, as defined by OYO.
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Why did OYO life fail?

Tokyo : Last March, months before the meltdown at WeWork, Masayoshi Son worked through the prospects for another one of his favorite portfolio companies — a startup from India called Oyo. In a spacious conference hall at his Tokyo headquarters, the Japanese billionaire huddled with lieutenants from the startup and his own SoftBank Group Corp.

to brainstorm strategy. He figured Oyo had the potential to disrupt both the staid hotel business and short-term apartment rentals in Japan, according to people in the room. One bullet point scribbled on a floor-to-ceiling whiteboard, in particular, caught Son’s eye: a target of one million rooms within a year.

In a burst of enthusiasm, he had everyone sign off on the goals right on the whiteboard, scrawling signatures under the words “BINDING” in all caps, according to a copy seen by Bloomberg News and the people present. Today, the Oyo unit handling apartments has about 7,500 rooms, less than 1% of the whiteboard target.

Son’s aspirations turned out to be an example of dramatic overreach, part of a year in which the Japanese investor’s reputation was battered by troubles at WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. The shortfall, which hasn’t been reported before, signals more trouble ahead for SoftBank and one of its most highly touted investments.

Perhaps more concerning, the episode reveals a fundamental flaw in SoftBank’s investment strategy: Pumping billions into startups and pushing them toward outsized growth often undermines promising businesses. With its chaotic rush to expand in Japan, Oyo infuriated potential partners, alienated workers and jeopardized its reputation with local customers, according to interviews with more than two dozen of them.

  • One incensed local customer went so far as to set up an Oyo Life Victims Association account on Twitter.
  • Similar frustrations have been voiced by customers and hotels in India and other overseas markets.
  • The troubles are so pronounced Son faced questions about Oyo during his earnings briefing in Tokyo last week.

He conceded there have been “some conflicts with hotel owners,” but said that is normal in such businesses and overall the performance is good. “Oyo is a wonderful company,” he said. SoftBank declined to comment on the startup’s internal issues and practices beyond Son’s comments, but said it believes the company can have a sustainable expansion in Japan with good corporate governance.

  1. Also read : With Masayoshi Son joining tech investing, Silicon Valley revives belief in profits Oyo, founded by 26-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, has drawn particular attention in SoftBank’s portfolio of startups because of its similarities to WeWork.
  2. Both are trying to change traditional real estate businesses with technology.

Both have charismatic young founders. Now, skeptics say Oyo could also fall short, further undermining Son’s grand ideas about technology investing. “Oyo is a WeWork in the making,” says Santosh Rao, head of research at New York-based Manhattan Venture Partners.

“They need to slow down and pull back.” Oyo says patience is in order. In an interview, Agarwal argues his company is bringing new concepts to a business in need of fresh thinking, especially in markets like Japan. He acknowledges “teething issues” that are to be expected for a fast-growing, innovative startup and defended the use of ambitious goals.

“Leaders at Oyo aspire for ambitious targets which act as directional north stars for building for scale,” he said. “From our shareholders perspective, they have said – you have a good business plan, you have continued operating as per your business plan, please keep delivering against that.” SoftBank is the largest outside shareholder at the company, whose backers also include Sequoia India and Airbnb Inc.

  • The last thing Son needs now is another big mistake.
  • He wants to raise capital for a successor to his $100 billion Vision Fund, but potential backers have been spooked by WeWork and Uber, as he conceded last week.
  • At the same time, activist Paul Singer has taken a stake in SoftBank, advocating for changes to boost its share price including a buyback and more transparency.

“Son needs to focus on rebuilding his reputation,” says Atul Goyal, senior analyst at Jefferies Group. “If Oyo blows up, that won’t be easy.” Agarwal got the idea for Oyo after roaming around India on a shoestring budget, witnessing first-hand the opportunity to bring order to the anarchic industry.

At 19, he set up a reservation website and began working with small hoteliers on service, design and standardized accouterments like bedding and toiletries to draw more travelers. Oyo took 25% of sales. In India, the concept took off. The reassurance of basic quality fostered trust with customers and brought in extra revenue.

Enamored of the idea and Agarwal, Son invested in 2015, two years after founding. But as SoftBank started the original $100 billion Vision Fund in 2017 and Son invested in the world’s biggest startups, he began to stoke Agarwal’s dreams with money and ambition, according to people directly involved.

  • Son poured about $1.5 billion into the company and encouraged the young founder to try to become the world’s largest hotel operator by room count.
  • That would mean surpassing Marriott International Inc., founded in 1927.
  • The business model that worked so well in India wasn’t an obvious fit for markets like the U.S.

and Europe, which already had well-established hotel chains and largely predictable quality. Yet Agarwal slogged ahead overseas, even buying a few properties outright, including the Hooters Casino Hotel in Las Vegas. Japan was supposed to be like a second home.

  • Son is a local hero and SoftBank’s brand is ubiquitous: It operates one of the largest wireless carriers, runs the leading web portal and owns the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, which have won five of the last six baseball championships.
  • SoftBank set up joint ventures through two subsidiaries to promote Oyo’s local business.

That support fueled Oyo’s confidence as it entered Japan in early 2019. Agarwal decided to push into both its traditional hotels business and a newer operation called Oyo Life, which offers furnished apartments without the typical hassles of security deposits or guarantors.

With Son’s enthusiastic backing at the March meeting, Agarwal and his team set the audacious goal of becoming the biggest operator in both businesses — in one year. “Many entrepreneurs want to do a land grab, and it’s often the right thing to do, but you have to balance between your desire and ability to do it,” says Ben Narasin, venture partner at New Enterprise Associates Inc., which isn’t involved with Oyo.

There were missteps at Oyo from the start. The Japan hotel team, led by a transplant from India named Prasun Choudhary, figured they could get to as many as 75,000 rooms in the first year, which would put them ahead of the Apa Hotels chain in the No.1 spot.

But they took as their starting point an inflated addressable market of 1.6 million rooms based on numbers from the local tourism authority: They included campgrounds, bed-and-breakfasts and pay-by-the-hour love hotels, which weren’t part of Oyo’s business plan, according to people involved at the time.

Oyo Life, the apartment rentals business led by another Indian lieutenant called Kavikrut (who like many Indians goes by one name), set the goal of 1 million rooms in part because it was a stunning, round number that would exceed the capacity of the Japan market leader, the people said.

  • That was the target that caught Son’s attention in March.
  • To reach their goals, the two lieutenants began hiring furiously.
  • Human resources staff conducted as many as 15 interviews a day, making offers to many the same day, people involved said.
  • At job hunting events, prospects would get recruited on the spot, sometimes signing hand-written offer letters.

Oyo Hotels surged to more than 580 people, while Oyo Life added 300, the company said. “Oyo believes that building a highly-motivated local team and strong management leadership is an important strategy for launching and succeeding in a new market,” Choudhary said in an interview.

“This team is what has made it possible for us to partner with over 190 hotels.” But Oyo’s technology wasn’t ready. In the first three months after launch, the hotel operation double booked rooms because it had failed to integrate with local travel agencies, according to Oyo and former employees. Staff in India entered reservations made in Japanese manually, introducing errors.

Some hotel owners found their rates reduced to just pennies by inscrutable algorithms. When they complained, the fix would take days because pricing was controlled in India, according to former employees. At the same time, Oyo Life workers struggled to keep track of keys they received from landlords because of software created in India.

  1. One tenant interviewed by Bloomberg spent the night in his car outside of his new apartment because he was given a wrong code for a lock box containing the keys.
  2. Even though it was during working hours, no one was manning the help lines at the company, he said.
  3. Two other customers interviewed by Bloomberg also had trouble getting into their apartments.

“Oyo operated like they were driving a Ferrari, instead of a hatchback,” said Taito Ito, executive officer at Japan Accommodation and Lodging Foundation, a hotel industry group handling about a dozen complaints against the company from its members. “It’s difficult to see this business going anywhere in Japan.” There were some satisfied customers, including one Oyo Life user who raved about the convenience of getting an apartment via an app and raking in points by paying rent with a credit card.

Despite the rocky start, Agarwal landed a starring role in July at SoftBank World, an annual event Son hosts in Tokyo. On stage in front of hundreds of the Japanese company’s suppliers and customers, Agarwal explained how Oyo is using data to beat the competition. Its algorithms can evaluate properties in under five days, compared with months for traditional hotels, he said.

Artificial intelligence helps Oyo predict what kind of interior design can boost demand — like pictures of Marilyn Monroe — and adjust prices more than 43,000 times a minute. Beaming on stage, Son said it was only a matter of time before Oyo, the third-biggest hotel chain by room count, would surpass the established giants.

  1. In three months, he will become the world’s biggest hotel king,” Son said at the time.
  2. This would be a first in human history.” Unbeknownst to the crowd, Agarwal and Son were in talks about an unprecedented deal at the time.
  3. To increase his stake in Oyo, the young founder would borrow $2 billion to buy out some of his earlier investors.

To reassure banks including Mizuho Financial Group Inc. to lend the money, Son personally guaranteed those loans, a highly unusual arrangement. The deal would double Oyo’s valuation to $10 billion. Just weeks later, in early August, it became clear Oyo’s hotel business in Japan was falling far short of its targets.

Agarwal told Choudhary to start firing under-performing staff, according to a message reviewed by Bloomberg News. But top management didn’t realize at first that labor laws in Japan prohibit such layoffs, according to former HR staff. Oyo had begun hiring before it set up all its operations, so many employees joined under temporary contracts through an outside recruiter with a plan of making them full-time after six months.

When that time came, Oyo tried to cut salaries for a number of them as much as 50%, according to former employees and copies of documents seen by Bloomberg News. Also read : When SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son let Paytm & Oyo tout the future of artificial intelligence Alarmed by worker complaints, SoftBank sent its own compliance staff into Oyo for a week-long internal audit, the people said.

In the end, Agarwal’s management withdrew the low-ball offers and said the revisions were an administrative mistake. Oyo says it wasn’t downsizing and was only making a fair assessment of staff. Choudhary acknowledges that, at first, Oyo thought it could manage performance in Japan like it has in the rest of the world.

Several former Oyo Life employees, who declined to be named because they signed confidentiality agreements, described a chaotic, disorganized work environment. The company poached executives from top-tier consulting and technology firms who excelled at inspirational talk, but had little understanding of real estate and even less patience for the industry’s slow-moving ways, the people said.

One of them said the real estate industry just doesn’t run on startup time. The push for growth hurt Oyo’s relationship with suppliers too. In one instance, the company placed a 100 million yen ($910,000) furniture order with Japanese maker Takumi Otsuka, clinching the deal with a handshake. A month later, Oyo canceled even though the manufacturer had already set up a dedicated line and began production, according to staff from Oyo.

Oyo denied the cancellation of any confirmed orders, but acknowledged there were lapses in communication in its early dealings with Takumi Otsuka. Oyo says the two companies now share a healthy business relationship and the furniture maker remains one of its valuable suppliers.

Takumi Otsuka declined to comment. In October, with Oyo Hotels short of its original targets, the company mobilized support staff to do sales. It launched Project Yukichi, named after a famed educator whose face is on the 10,000 yen bill, with the goal of that many new rooms a month. The workers, already struggling to keep up with complaints from hotel owners, were told they are also responsible for producing 30 new sales leads a month, according to former employees and company presentations.

The “OYOpreneurs,” as they were called, got a three-day training session from Bain & Co. to get them up to speed, the people said. With so much energy focused on sales, customer service suffered. One Oyo Life tenant told Bloomberg News he moved into his room to find bed sheets and covers, but no bed or mattress to put them on.

After facing a prospect of sleeping on the floor for a week, he hauled over a futon from his parent’s house. Yutaro Kondo, a 25-year-old entrepreneur, paid 86,000 yen for a 21-square-meter studio about an hour by train from central Tokyo. While a premium to similar listings, the contract covered internet access, all utilities and the last month free of rent.

But he didn’t have heat for weeks so he moved out in December. Shortly after, he got a bill for the month that was supposed to be free. “The simplicity they offered is attractive to a lot of young people,” Kondo said. “I feel pretty disappointed they didn’t deliver on that promise.” Hotel owners are unhappy too, especially with disputes over money.

Oyo aimed to increase business for its partners by dropping rates at first and then increasing the price as occupancy went up. To help ease the pain, it guaranteed owners a minimum level of revenue provided they met certain criteria. Instead, a number of hotels found the payments fell short and the company unwilling to make up the difference.

Oyo acknowledged such disputes and said that in some cases hotels failed to fulfill their contractual obligations. Still, it said it decided to pay in full to mend relations. One SoftBank executive said there were troubles between Oyo and about 40 hotels out of about 200, emphasizing many hotel owners are satisfied.

Employees are exhausted from dealing with Oyo,” said Shingo Ozaki, who manages Hamakan Hotel on the southwestern island of Kyushu, which is considering ending its relationship with the startup. Oyo said it is continuously working to improve software and it launched a call center that in the past month handled 1,700 tickets from partners and guests.

Late last year, after the debacle at WeWork, Son overhauled his approach to startups. At a gathering of portfolio companies in California, he cautioned founders that they need to have a strategy for profitability and that growth couldn’t be the sole target.

  • Agarwal was in attendance.
  • But any changes may be too late for Oyo in Japan.
  • In December, news leaked out that SoftBank’s Yahoo Japan sold its stake in Oyo Life, liquidating the partnership without any explanation.
  • In Japan, the hotel room count has stalled at little over 5,000, with just over 300 new rooms added in December.

Oyo disclosed this week that revenue increased more than four-fold to $951 million for the fiscal year ending in March 2019, while losses surged six-fold to $335 million. “Entrepreneurship is a game where you have to learn to crawl, then walk and only then to jog and run,” said Narasin of NEA.

Skipping steps can be dangerous.” At least some hotels are giving up, tired of the troubles they’ve had with Oyo. Shoji Sato, president of the company that runs an Oyo affiliate called Sawara Kita Hotel, said the company didn’t pay revenue guaranteed for January after reducing room prices to draw more customers.

He said Oyo workers often ignore his inquiries or are slow to respond too. Oyo said there is no delay in payment because the January cycle closes in mid-February. “I believed in Oyo after the salesman showed me a brochure with details about SoftBank. SoftBank is led by Masayoshi Son, who is very famous and popular in Japan,” says Sato.
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What is OYO controversy?

Criticism – In 2019, OYO planned to implement a digital register mechanism which will allow it to share customer data in real-time with the government. This was described as a threat to privacy. OYO has been accused of using predatory pricing and not following its own agreements including threatening hotels to unilaterally change some of the clauses or not be paid.
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Is Ritesh Agarwal an Iitian?

3. Mukesh Ambani – Mukesh Ambani has been India’s richest person since 2008. He also cleared IIT-JEE and joined IIT Bombay. It is believed that he left IIT-Bombay to join ICT, Mumbai to pursue Chemical Engineering as an inter-science, which was announced a few weeks later. Explain The Circumstances Under Which Ritesh Agrawal Left His Education Mukesh Ambani (Pic Credit- Twitter) 4. Ritesh Agarwal Ritesh Agarwal founded ‘OYO’ in 2013 at the age of 19. He couldn’t clear the IIT entrance either, but that didn’t stop him from achieving his dreams. Hailing from Odisha, his family used to run a small shop there. Explain The Circumstances Under Which Ritesh Agrawal Left His Education Ritesh Agarwal (Pic Credit-Twitter)
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Is Ritesh Agarwal a software engineer?

Ritesh Agarwal – Software Engineer – Big Data BizViz | LinkedIn.
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Is OYO a loss making startup?

Conversation. Top 10 Loss-Making Indian Unicorn Startups 🚀 BYJUs: ₹4588 Cr OYO: ₹3944 Cr Udaan: ₹2482 Cr Flipkart: ₹2446 Cr Eruditus: ₹1934 Cr PhonePe: ₹1728 Cr Paytm: ₹1710 Cr Swiggy: ₹1617 Cr Unacademy: ₹1537 Cr Freshworks: ₹1499 Cr Would you subscribe to their upcoming IPOs?
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Was Ritesh Agarwal a programmer?

Ritesh, the wunderkind. Born in Bissamcuttack, a village in Rayagada district of Odisha, Ritesh started coding software when he was eight years old. At 16, Ritesh was among 240 children selected to be part of the Asian Science Camp held at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai.

The camp is an annual forum for pre-collegiate students, aimed at promoting discussion for the betterment of science in the region. When he was 17, Ritesh authored a best-selling book; The Encyclopaedia of Indian Engineering Colleges. When he was 17, he became the youngest chief executive officer (CEO) in India.

Of a company called Worth Growth Partners. The same year he went broke. He spent several nights on the stairs leading to his flat in Masjid Moth in New Delhi because his landlord wouldn’t let him in before he paid his dues. When he was 18, he founded Oravel, an Indian version of the online rental site Airbnb,

  1. The same year, he secured funding of ₹ 30 lakh from VentureNursery, an accelerator which brought together a bunch of storied investors to nurture start-ups.
  2. When he was 19, Ritesh was selected for the Thiel Fellowship—a global contest in which he was the only winner from India.
  3. Started by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, the founder and former CEO of PayPal Inc., the fellowship is intended for students under the age of 20.

It offers them $100,000 over two years (about ₹ 2.7 lakh per month), as well as guidance and other resources, to drop out of school and create a start-up. When he was 19, Ritesh keenly watched and learnt the spirit of entrepreneurship from Valley legends such as Thiel; Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors Inc., and Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and founding president of Facebook Inc.

  1. When he was 19, he chucked the idea of Oravel, the Airbnb clone, and changed his business to OYO Stays, a marketplace for branded budget hotels, just as Olacabs is a marketplace for cabs.
  2. When Ritesh was 19, OYO Stays received funding of ₹ 4 crore from Lightspeed Venture Partners (LSVP) and DSG Consumer Partners, Singapore, at a pre-money valuation of ₹ 14 crore.

Pre-money refers to the valuation of a company prior to investment or financing. When he was 20, OYO Stays received funding of $6 million (about ₹ 36 crore) from Sequoia Capital and LSVP at a pre-money valuation of $60 million. When he was 20, Ritesh finally gave up on landlords.

The always suspecting ones, worried that he would bring girls to their flats. He moved into an OYO room in Gurgaon. Over the last four years, Ritesh has been covered by the media extensively. Pieces on him have appeared in this newspaper, The Economic Times, The Hindu, The Times of India, Reuters, CNBC Awaaz, Business Standard, Business Insider, yourstory.com, nextbigwhat.com and medianama.com.

On 16 November 2014, Ritesh turned 21. This writer and Ritesh chatted for more than eight hours over two days. On what it feels to be 20, the story of Oravel, Ritesh’s growing up days, building an empowered organization, the burden of expectations and the irritating culture of calling just about anyone in Delhi ‘Sir’.

  1. On 7 November 2014, at about 1.15pm, the interview ended.
  2. At 3:09pm, Ritesh sent out an email to Manish Sinha, a 42-year-old former colleague.
  3. Subject: Newspaper.
  4. HiReaching out that there is a reporter from Mint who is in town and wanted to know about the split, as per our agreement I stuck to it and said that we have a gentleman’s agreement and can’t speak anything on that and closed.

This is just letting you know in case he reaches out.” Only, this writer had already met Sinha. A while back. After a month of hounding. ‘Grey zones’ “See, Ritesh is a gifted and talented person. I genuinely believed in his ability and story when he first signed me up as a co-founder,” he said.

But later there was this other side to his personality that surfaced. Many things that happened are unethical and I have lived with them not fully knowing or realizing what had gone on. Though I discovered it somewhat late I feel that the complete story—with his grey zones and his propensity for unfair play—needs to be told.” But he is just 20, right? “Yes but fundamental flaws in character can in time override great talent and cause larger damage.

He might do the same thing again if not checked.” It is quite likely that you’ve heard this story before. Or read about it. Or been a part of it. It happened at Facebook, At Twitter, At redBus, This is that story and more. A co-founder booted out, employees not given their due and hung out to dry, pieces of paper with informal promises of a stake, a charismatic founder’s attempt to wipe the slate clean, exaggerated pitches, cold and calculated interference of venture capital firms, their sanctimonious contracts and clauses, and the world of make-believe valuations.

  1. In reporting this story, Mint conducted interviews with most of the protagonists (hey, everyone is a good guy, right?) and pored over several documents, agreements and email correspondence between employees and investors.
  2. The meeting—6 November 2014.
  3. There is a bit of a crisis.
  4. At Oravel.
  5. Inside Room No 325, B-2 Tower, Spaze IT Park, Gurgaon.

It’s been five days since the start of the month, but employees have not received their salaries. The problem: in the documents filed with the bank, Ritesh’s signatures did not match, so Yes Bank Ltd did not credit the amount. Ritesh needed to sign all the documents all over again.

Ritesh and this writer are discussing how stuff like this always happens at start-ups. “For people who earn on an average about ₹ 15,000 a month and who travel a lot, if the salary is late then the landlord will throw him out. I know how life is after that because I have been there. I want to give autonomy to people.

For the lack of money, their productivity should not be hurt.” After some time, the conversation turns a bit thoughtful. “You know, for us the ethics and values of running a business are very different,” he says. How? “Peter (Thiel) says this to me often.

  1. Ritesh, I am sure you will grow, do well but don’t whatever your culture.”‘ Whatever? “Can I say this?” (Pointing towards the Dictaphone) Yeah.
  2. So, don’t fuck around with your culture.
  3. He says that’s a top thing you’ve got to be concerned about.
  4. Everything else is fine, you will do it and I have trust in you.

And he’s like, you have never worked earlier so you don’t know what should or shouldn’t happen in your organization. This is great advice for us and we try to take that very, very seriously. So we have regular town halls every month. Our first town halls used to be two people. Explain The Circumstances Under Which Ritesh Agrawal Left His Education The back story Ritesh is fair, tall, and thin, with an unkempt look about him. Hair all over the place, shabby beard, dirty nails, dressed in a light blue shirt and dark blue trousers that would have looked better if ironed—the look of a founder putting in 16 hours a day to make his dream come true.

After all, for a kid who’s dreamt of this from as far back as he can remember, it has been a hell of a journey getting this far. The way Ritesh tells it, it is quite a story. His growing up days in Rayagada, Odisha, were about a lot of fun and learning. And very different from those of other kids. His family was well-off so Ritesh would get around ₹ 300 in pocket money every month, even when he was in second grade at the Sacred Heart School.

“Other people’s view was that saving a rupee is a rupee earned,” he says. “But for our family, earning two rupees is a rupee earned. That means spending that 1 rupee to make that happen is what it is. It is a difference of risk-taking appetite, going out and doing stuff.” This view of the world ensured that Ritesh had a lot of time to himself.

  • To figure out what’s inside a floppy disk or a CD.
  • It helped that there was a computer at his father’s office.
  • I basically screwed around with the computer tens of times,” he says.
  • So I would put posters in the printer when I would not find A4 sheets.
  • A lot of these things are just the opportunity to make mistakes.” That’s how he got interested in software.

It started with a kite, then a bird and then the hunger for more. So Ritesh devoured his elder brother’s books. Followed by the school’s curriculum which ensured that languages like Basic and Pascal were taught. And then Google, He believes that programming is nothing but application of logic.

  • And once you have that, then you can seamlessly move across languages.
  • So software was love.
  • By the time he was in 10th grade, Ritesh knew he wanted to code for a living.
  • The question was how? His idea: engineers, those who go to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), would be coders, right? And where do they go to get into IIT? Kota (the engineering preparation town in Rajasthan).

But seriously, Kota? For coding? “See, I did not have anyone I could have asked if I can go to Kota or not,” he says. “No one in my town had ever gone to Kota. I mean, it was a big deal if people went to Bhubaneswar.” In 2009, Ritesh left for Kota. His dad picked up the tab for his admission to Bansal Tutorials.

Once there, it didn’t take him long to figure that Kota was anything but a place where you could learn coding. The dream of coding took a backseat. So did attending coaching classes. Ritesh had a lot of time. To do just about anything he wanted. So he wrote a book. The Encyclopedia of Indian Engineering Colleges.

He says, “This was like Princeton Review of India,” he says. “It was big on Flipkart, Sold out. A lot of people have bought it. I remember the bookshop inside Bansal had this book and my picture was right on the cover.” And then events. Yes, that. Kota bored him, so very often Ritesh would take a train and head to Delhi.

  • There he would stay at odd bed & breakfast (B&B) places and attend events and conferences to meet entrepreneurs.
  • He couldn’t afford the registration costs so he would just sneak in.
  • Oravel, OYO In May 2011, he moved to Delhi. For good.
  • With the idea of working on a start-up of his own and preparing for SAT so that he could go to the US for further studies.

Money was not a problem. There were savings from Kota and the pocket money was good; ₹ 15,000 a month. But SAT never happened. After a year of doing really nothing except meeting people and reading about start-ups, especially Airbnb, in February 2012, Ritesh incorporated Oravel.

  • So I was waking up and staying at B&B properties for almost three months.
  • It was a fun time,” he says.
  • Of course, it was a tough thing starting out.
  • For a long time, it was just me, Anuj Tejpal (operations) and a couple of interns, that’s it.” Was he doing everything? “Yes.” When did the first employee join? “2012 December after the first round of funding came in.” (VentureNursery) Who was it? “Sahil Arora, a young Amity guy.

He was one of the most amazing guys I have worked with. Did not know how to write an email. But he was the only guy who came in my budget. It was ₹ 8,000.” Two people! How long before the next hire? “A month or two months, maybe. Then some interns joined and Anuj came on board.

He was working with ZS Associates before this. So he called our call centre, and back then it was manned by Sahil. So Sahil just gave the phone to me. That’s how we got him on board.” How did he find you? “There was news, right, that Oravel raised funding from VentureNursery. We were doing too many things at the same time.” Soon after, OYO happened.

Taking a cue from online retail companies, Ritesh felt that Oravel, too, should have a private label. Some place where they could monitor the customer experience. Then early in 2013, the Thiel Fellowship happened. After that, there was no looking back. As soon as Ritesh got back from the US in July 2013, LSVP and DSG Consumer Partners invested.

And then in May 2014, Sequoia Capital and LSVP. What started out as a one-person company today employs more than 100 people. It is growing at breakneck speed. People are being added almost on a daily basis and OYO Stays is venturing into other cities such as Bengaluru and Mumbai. It is already present in Gurgaon, Noida and Delhi.

There is little space left in the cramped office. Ritesh is hoping to shift soon to a larger office in the same building on the 6th floor, right now occupied by Cap Gemini SA, That the dream has, in a way, played out can sometimes be frightening. “It is such an exciting journey that I get overwhelmed,” says Ritesh.

  1. There are so many people who are dependent on me.
  2. You know, setting expectations, and then feeling afraid.
  3. But I am a firm believer in the fact that good work has always been recognized.” Now that’s one hell of a story.
  4. Or is it? The storyteller It would be fair to say that sometimes entrepreneurs like to dress up— the idea, the projections, the pain of bootstrapping and even the back story—to make it that one perfect story.

One that would make the world sit up and take notice. But sometimes, it helps to dig a little deeper. For Ritesh’s story, let’s start with the Asian Science Camp held at TIFR in Mumbai in 2010. While Ritesh has maintained that he was invited for it or participated in it—he even wrote about it at http://riteshagar.blogspot.in—the story is a little different.

Mint reached out to TIFR to check if Ritesh was one of the 240 people selected to be part of the camp. No. “We selected some 30 people from India,” said Sumana Amin, camp secretary of the camp in 2010 at TIFR. “There is no one by the name of Ritesh Agarwal on that list.” Now, how about the bestselling book? Ritesh has made that claim in interviews, and also while applying for the Thiel Fellowship.

Also, in Oravel’s early days captured from the company’s web archives: mintne.ws/1xwXVPv Mint reached out to the publisher, G.K. Publications in Rajasthan. The book was anything but a bestseller. “Yes, yes, I remember Ritesh,” says Rijita, who works in the sales department at the company and prefers to use only one name.

The book didn’t do well. Maybe because of us, because we didn’t push it as much, or the content. We published only one volume of 1,100 copies. Books had come back after a year and we had to send it to the market again.” Now, what about the company where Ritesh became the youngest CEO in India? Worth Growth Partners, actually Rational Management Consultancy Pvt.

Ltd. The company was registered on 18 February 2011 at Dhulet, Rajasthan, and has two directors; Jagdish Regar and Asish Agarwal (Ritesh’s elder brother). Mint reached out to VentureNursery (the accelerator where Oravel was incubated) to understand if Ritesh’s claims and association with Worth Growth Partners had showed up in the company’s due diligence while he was inducted into the programme.

  • No,” said a senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because VentureNursery is still an investor in Oravel.
  • This is the first time I am hearing about it.
  • See, but youth comes with passion and immaturity.
  • If something has happened there, then we are not aware of it.” And then, there is the story of Oravel.

“Talk is cheap. Show me the code”: Linus Torvalds.2012 Technology is at the heart of any online business. Be it Facebook, Uber or Airbnb. The code, that is what gives these companies their strategic advantage. So you would almost expect Ritesh, who loved coding so much, to have built a product—perhaps all by himself or with some help.

  1. And to then acknowledge the person.
  2. But in Ritesh’s version of Oravel, there is no mention of Kunal Pandya, CEO of NCrypted Technologies, a web development company based out of Rajkot in Gujarat.
  3. The website Oravel.com didn’t start with a kid, a laptop and an idea.
  4. It started sometime in April 2012 when Ritesh reached out to Pandya to buy a product called BistroStays Enterprise (an Airbnb clone).

There wasn’t enough money, but both agreed to a long-drawn payment structure. Also part of the agreement was that Oravel would specifically give credit to NCrypted Technologies—a footer to the website with a hyperlink—”Powered by NCrypted Technologies”.

  1. Except that the Airbnb clone wasn’t enough.
  2. Ritesh needed customization.
  3. For that Pandya was willing to work and he did initially, but he needed more money.
  4. Before that it was just a static page,” says Pandya.
  5. We started working together but right from the start there were many payment issues.” This was also the time when Ritesh was out in the market looking for funding.

Luckily for him, VentureNursery, an accelerator founded by Shravan Shroff, former promoter of multiplex chain Fame Cinema, and Ravi Kiran, former Starcom MediaVest Group South East and South Asia CEO, was putting together an incubator called ParallelTrack.

  • Apoorv R. Sharma, executive vice-president at VentureNursery, reached out to him.
  • We found a guy with passion and fire in the belly,” says the VentureNursery official quoted earlier.
  • He had slept in 20-30 odd B&Bs, sometimes on the floor, and while some of that may be dramatized, we found him confident and assertive.

So we thought that with some mentoring, he could get a chance and fly.” In April, Ritesh got into the programme. But it came with a condition. He must find a co-founder. Enter Manish Sinha. A former advertising guy, having worked at agencies such as JWT, Ogilvy and Mather and Mudra.

Sinha (with his wife Shilpi) was leading a quiet life in Delhi running a B&B business called Cinnamon Stays. Ritesh reached out to him to become the co-founder at Oravel. “When he reached out, he never mentioned anything about VN (VentureNursery),” says Sinha. “His pitch was—Ritesh’s software and product brain and Manish’s advertising and marketing brain, if we put it together, we can create a great business.” Sinha was taken in by Ritesh’s charm and passion.

But their arrangement was clear and at the same time, flexible. No salary, and considering Sinha had a home and an existing B&B business to run, his role as a co-founder would be limited to ideating and mentoring. Even as all this was happening, Ritesh was having trouble on the website.

So he reached out to two developers (graduates from Georgia Institute of Technology) in Indore— Mohit Jain and Chirag Gupta of Codeautomations. On 29 June, Ritesh sent an email to Gupta. They were interested, but they wanted to mull it over. The partnership Around this time, Ritesh and Sinha started working together.

Ritesh’s flat in Masjid Moth became Oravel’s office and with Sinha’s inputs, a hot B&B destination. The idea: a retro Bollywood theme. “It was more a branding idea from me for Oravel than business. The story of a 19-year-old CEO of a rental company working from a B&B was the PR pitch,” says Sinha.

In August, Ritesh formally introduced Sinha to the folks at VentureNursery in an email. “Dear Shravan, Ravi (Kiran)Manish is inducted as my partner/co-founder in Oravel. We met a year ago (app July) and became good friends by Nov. He brings with himself huge experience of Customer Servicing, Operational Expertise (Thanks to him being #1 B&B in Gurgaon) and Marketing virality.” While at the time he overlooked this tiny detail, Sinha denies that he knew Ritesh since July 2011.

The partnership, though, got the people at VentureNursery excited. It also helped that Kiran, thanks to his background in advertising, had heard of Sinha. Post-mentoring, training and networking, part of the VentureNursery incubation programme, in late September both Ritesh and Sinha travelled to Mumbai to make a pitch to VentureNursery and its set of angels.

The beta product “with search, review and book features (in testing mode)” was Pandya’s Airbnb clone. Slide 3 had pictures of Sinha’s Cinnamon Stays. Claims of 3,000+ listings and 600+ relationships with B&Bs in Gurgaon and Delhi were significantly dressed-up numbers. In fact, at the time, Oravel had a relationship with not more than five property owners.

The listings were picked up from various other booking sites and plugged into Oravel.com. But both Ritesh and Sinha agreed that this is how a pitch is made and that’s how it would be. VentureNursery bought it. As Sinha puts it, his brotherly love for Ritesh was at its best in September 2012.

  • First, he designed the company’s brand identity, a brown teddy bear.
  • And then when Oravel wasn’t getting enough bookings on the Internet, he came up with the idea for dial-a-room for non-hotels.
  • Most important, the idea of OYO, low-cost standardized inns, was his.
  • In October, after almost two months of due diligence (which included flying down Ritesh’s father from Bhubaneswar to make sure that he wouldn’t push his son into college anytime soon and put the venture in jeopardy, VentureNursery put ₹ 30 lakh into Oravel.

The news that an 18-year-old had secured seed funding for a start-up was splashed everywhere. Oravel grew. Team size? Four. Ritesh, Sinha, Anuj Tejpal (property acquisitions) and Sahil Arora (one-man call centre). On 31 December 2012, the last day for filling up the application form, Ritesh applied for the Thiel Fellowship.

  1. Little did he know that his life was about to change.2013 In February 2013, Jain and Gupta from Codeautomations joined Oravel.
  2. In an email to Ritesh, Jain wrote “It would be best on interest of us and Oravel to work on Equity + cash model.” Ritesh was thrilled.
  3. He replied, “Awesome Mohit – great to hear back.

Looking forward buddy.” Jain and Gupta then flew down to Gurgaon to formalize the relationship. In a letter dated 28 February, on Oravel’s letterhead, Ritesh welcomed them as part of the core management team. And offered “approximately 10-8% (1039-855) shares of the paid up capital of the company”.

Plus ₹ 25,000 per month for one designer. The same month, Salil Aggarwal, Anuj Tejpal’s roommate and former colleague at ZS Associates, joined Oravel. “Ritesh would often be at our place to discuss business with Anuj,” says Aggarwal. “It looked very exciting so when Ritesh and Anuj asked me to join, I was like, sure.” Aggarwal, too, came on board with a promise of an equity stake in the company.

Except, no documentation and no offer letter. Over the next couple of months, the team got cracking on the job. Even as all this was happening, Pandya of NCrypted had been hounding Ritesh for money and for the credit on the Oravel website which had suddenly gone missing.

  1. A couple of cheques had bounced and whenever I would call, he would say, I don’t have any money,” says Pandya.
  2. On 6 March 2013, Ritesh raised this issue in an email to Gupta.
  3. Buddy, this guy from Gujrat has requested us to do the belowshe keeps bugging me with mails for this.
  4. In case, it doesn’t steal our code/database lets paste it and live in peace.” Then, the big news came.

Ritesh had been shortlisted for the Thiel Fellowship and had to fly to San Francisco for an interview and make a pitch for Oravel. The company went into a tizzy making preparations. The work of putting together the presentation and making sure that the website worked on the D-day landed on Jain’s table.

On 7 April, (three days before leaving for the US), Ritesh sent an email to Jain. “One thing is pretty urgent –Let’s make the earlier code and database we had on the live siteUntil then we can’t afford to have the 20 under-20 guys take a note of we not having a real productwe can use the situation to our advantage in the manner of launching the day we have the final conference (13th).” Ritesh left for San Francisco on 10 April.

The people at the Thiel Foundation were sold on the passion and vision of a 19-year-old from India. The claim: 4,000+ listings, 3,000+ happy nights, 200% growth every month, 40+ country travellers, three members (Tejpal, Gupta and Jain) from top US universities.

Both Salil Aggarwal and Jain say that the numbers are far, far dressed up. Why did they agree to it? Again, because well, that’s how it is done. Also, Tejpal never went to college in the US. In May, Ritesh was selected for the Thiel Fellowship. It was big news. Almost overnight, he became the poster boy of entrepreneurship.

VentureNursery arranged for a PR agency for press interviews. On 30 May, Ritesh left for the US. Now back to our story; after Ritesh left for the US, it all went south. Jain and Gupta had been getting a bit jittery. Their offer had still not materialized into a shareholder agreement.

  1. Plus they had been paying the developer ( ₹ 25,000 per month) from their own pockets.
  2. In an email on 6 June, Gupta sent Ritesh a reminder.
  3. The cracks surface Two days later, Ritesh replied saying that he had been busy.
  4. He promised to close the agreements soon and send the cheques.
  5. It’s been amazing working with you guys – look forward to amazing times coming :)” In Delhi, Salil Aggarwal was getting worried too.

He had been working without a salary, except for a few reimbursements for rent and office expenses. He often discussed the issue of a stake with Tejpal but nothing came out of it. Things took an ugly turn in June. Jain sent a long and terse email to Ritesh, saying that they had ceased all other work to focus on Oravel.

I need to get some sort of written confirmation by you on the stake we agreed mutually, i.e.10 to 8 % (which should have been done earlier).” A day later, Ritesh replied saying that he agreed to it “on the face of it” and would send an “official letter” confirming the arrangement within “next 24hrs”.

Twenty-four hours became a month; the letter never came. The issue was hanging fire in July when Ritesh got back to Delhi. He had been busy in the US. Bejul Somaia, managing director of LSVP, and Ritesh met in the US. In June, Maninder Gulati, vice-president at LSVP, reached out to Sinha’s wife Shilpi to get her perspective on the B&B business.

She directed him to her husband instead. Immediately, Sinha forwarded that email to Ritesh with a line, “Are we speaking to Lightspeed guys as well?” Ritesh didn’t respond. Gulati, though, got back to Shilpi. On 26 June, he replied, “Thanks Shilpiwe are in touch with Manish and Ritesh from Oravel. Manish, hopefully we will meet you when Ritesh is back.” Sinha and Gulati never met.

In the first week of August 2013, Ritesh and Sinha met at Oravel’s office in Gurgaon. Ten minutes into the meeting Ritesh pushed a paper towards Sinha and asked him to sign it. He then excused himself and stepped out. Sinha picked up the paper, thinking it must be a bill or something.

But as he read it, the colour drained from his face. “The document stated that I would sell all my shares to Ritesh,” says Sinha. “I was furious. I just flung the paper on the table and walked out.” Later in the day, Ritesh called Sinha to apologize and explain the situation. He blamed VentureNursery, says Sinha.

“He told me that if I didn’t sell my shares immediately, I would not get any money. And that he was trying to get me a good deal.” After what had happened, Sinha was depressed. He discussed the issue with his wife. Both concluded that the relationship had hit rock-bottom, and if this was what Ritesh and VentureNursery wanted, then he should move on.

Sinha did not reach out to VentureNursery to clarify or discuss this matter, a decision he now regrets. “At the time, I was thinking that I wanted some money for the work I had put in for over a year and not zero money.” On 10 August, a few days after the argument, Ritesh emailed Sinha an apology. “I apologize for the manner in which I carried out the conversation.

I did make a grievous mistakebut I am here to set right and I will do all to make sure we reach that.” On 13 August, Ritesh prepared a document and named it Oravel-Manish Closure. The same day, he signed a term sheet for funding with LSVP. On 16 August, Sinha entered into an agreement to sell his stake (10.15%) to Ritesh.

For ₹ 28 lakh. Sinha had absolutely no idea about the term sheet with LSVP. “All I can say is Ritesh forced me to sell all my shares without disclosing the price and the valuation that he was getting,” says Sinha. VentureNursery claims it had no clue what was going on. After a month of Sinha being booted out, on 19 September Ravi Kiran and Shravan Shroff sent an email to Ritesh.

“Ritesh, we have reviewed the document you sent us on Aug 30 titled ‘Oravel-Manish closure’, which appears to have been created on Aug 13 and which has got a receipt by Manish on Aug 16, along with a cheque for ₹ 200000. This is three days before you wrote to us about the fact that you had signed a term sheet with LSVP.

We find this highly unusual, and in clear contravention of the SHA (shareholder agreement) both of you have signed with the investors. we call upon you to provide us with a clear explanation of the background to this development and the current status. You told us during our call that LSVP would like Manish to exit to create place for another co-founder with franchising experience.

Yet you seemed to have agreed on an exit plan for Manish before LSVP made any investment and without any approval from existing investors. The existing investors have always been under the impression that Manish has been 100% dedicated to Oravel and had agreed to invest with that condition.

Can you please explain when that dedication got diluted and why didn’t think worth your while to seek approval?” An anomaly in the system? Whatever the explanation Ritesh came up with, it was enough for VentureNursery, “Till this day I had no idea that all of this happened,” says Sinha. “I can see that he told me one thing and VN another.

All I can say is that he fraudulently forced me to sell my shares.” And while Sinha’s exit may not have been what in investing lingo is called condition precedent, at least on paper, an LSVP executive admits that it may have been the firm’s idea. In an interview on 20 November, LSVP’s Somaia said that as part of diligence, LSVP met with Ritesh, a few employees and some property owners to understand the dynamics in the company.

“We did not meet Manish,” he says. “Because part of what our background checks revealed that Manish wasn’t really a driver of the company.” In fact, Somaia says that Sinha’s co-founder status has a lot to do with something of an anomaly in the Indian start-up ecosystem. So where in the US, co-founders are actually people who have founded the company, in India, people who have been hired early would also be called co-founders.

“We went to property owners and asked them who is OYO to you?” says Somaia. “We heard Ritesh, Anuj, but not Manish.” “So we boarded up with Ritesh. So what’s the relationship here and how is it going to work. And he and Manish had conversations even prior to that and I won’t get into all of this.

  1. So our point to Ritesh was simply, hey look, if this relationship is not going to be one that goes forward.I don’t think it was a CP technically, I haven’t read the legal documents.
  2. So we must have said it is better to address all of that now and you would like to have clarity.
  3. That this is all addressed before we invest, right!” Even as all this was happening, nobody at Oravel had any clue.

In fact, stressed by their own issues, Jain, Gupta and Salil Aggarwal got on to a conference call early in September 2013. Its outcome was simple. On 24 September, Jain and Gupta quit. They sent out a long email to everyone at Oravel saying they were quitting because even after eight months they hadn’t “received our paper work and shareholder agreement”.

  1. On the one hand, the company claimed it had money from “VN, Theil and now LSVP” and, on the other hand “we don’t receive any” money, they wrote.
  2. Starting 25 September, Salil Aggarwal stopped going to work.
  3. A few days later, four other people quit the company.
  4. Day in, day out’ In an emailed reply to a follow-up question, Ritesh said, “Frankly at one point of time the previous Model (Oravel) wasn’t working and we needed to find a new direction in the business and which didn’t work for some of the employees.

We of course respected their decision to move on. Many others decided to stay back and I am proud to see them leading many parts of our business today.” Did the exits at Oravel show up as a red flag for LSVP? No. Somaia says this is a matter-of-fact situation in the start-up world.

  • Perhaps this is new for you, but we breathe this day in, day out,” he says.
  • To me that is start-ups.
  • They are living organisms.
  • What’s the churn in start-ups? It’s insane.
  • I don’t think there is anything particularly unusual about the churn you are referring to.” How about VentureNursery? Did they bat for the employees? “Nobody escalated this to us,” says the VentureNursery official quoted earlier.

“But then our only point of contact was Ritesh and we do not interfere in an entrepreneur’s day-to-day operations.” And then he explains a little more: “Did we set out to build a successful business? Yes. All of us made 20X on our original investment.

  1. Did we set out to build character? Yes and No.
  2. Yes because you know it is a part of institution building.
  3. No because you think it is already there.
  4. We had no reason to suspect.” To give credit where it is due, Oravel is on to something good.
  5. It has a charismatic 21-year-old founder at the helm.
  6. And the company has captured the imagination of some of the biggest venture capital firms in the country.

So much so that in less than 10 months, the period between LSVP and Sequoia’s investment, Oravel’s pre-money valuation rose from ₹ 14 crore to ₹ 360 crore. What changed on the ground, in just 10 months, to merit such valuation? “Obviously the company has made progress.

  • More hotels now than they had.
  • More substance in team.
  • But why do Flipkart’s valuations change 2X in 3 months? It is not because of something fundamental,” explains Somaia.
  • The business grew,” he adds.
  • So it currently has somewhere between 40-45 properties.
  • When we invested it had five, maybe.
  • But remember rule 1, venture investors always over-pay for companies because they are buying into the future.

It is an unfortunate aspect of our business but it is the reality. The math doesn’t work.” Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News, More Less
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