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Success Story of Ritesh Agarwal




Ritesh Agarwal

“On Your Own” Rooms, popularly known as OYO Rooms, is India’s fastest-growing and leading chain of hotels and living spaces. However, it founded by an 18-year-old college dropout, Ritesh Agarwal. His journey comprises of his passion for entrepreneurship from a young age and a lot of struggles. Let us know what drove him to the point of being the world’s second-youngest self-made billionaire.

Ritesh Agarwal Background:

Ritesh hails from a small district Bissam Cuttack in Odisha. The literacy rate of his town was less than 20%. His family owned a local shop in the district. He described himself as an “unusual kid” who did not have many friends. When he was just eight years old, he learned the meaning of the word “entrepreneur” from his elder sister. He regards his sister as a constant source of inspiration.

How he stared:

During his school days, when fellow students used to dream about being engineers and doctors, he wanted to be an entrepreneur. He had commitment and clarity towards his dream for a long time. After his schooling, he came to Delhi for senior high school. However, he was more interested in travelling to the mountains than going to school.

Ritesh Agarwal used to do small internships to earn himself enough money to travel across Uttarakhand and other places in India. His family wasn’t aware of his escapades. Over a year, he had ended up staying in almost 100 properties which included hotels, bed and breakfasts, apartments, etc.

However, he realized that most of the affordable places that he could stay at weren’t accessible. He felt that he could solve this problem. In 2012, he started Oravel, which was India’s first marketplace for villas, service apartments, etc.

Ritesh Agarwal vision:

He continued Oravel for almost six months, wherein he encountered various other problems that his customers faced. He wanted his customers to have a better experience. From his service and wanted to solve their problems genuinely. Thus, he started working more on Oravel. During this period, he had gotten himself enrolled in a college in Delhi. But hardly ever attended classes and eventually dropped out.

At the end of 2013, Ritesh applied for Thiel Fellowship. Thiel Fellowship, created by billionaire Peter Thiel. Thiel gave $100000 to 20 people below the age of 20 years, who could drop out of college to work on their start-ups. Ritesh applied for it at the very last moment but enjoyed the application process nonetheless.


Ritesh became the first Asian resident member of the Thiel Fellowship. He built OYO Rooms under the fellowship.

By 2018, OYO Rooms had raised $1 billion, making Ritesh one of the youngest self-made billionaires of the world. OYO has expanded globally now, with thousands of hotels, vacation homes, and millions of rooms in 80+ countries.

OYO investors:

OYO’s investors include SoftBank Group, Greenoaks Capital, Sequoia India, Lightspeed India, Hero Enterprise, Airbnb, and China Lodging Group.

We hope Ritesh’s journey inspired you to follow your dreams and aspirations as well.

At what age Ritesh Agarwal became billionaire?


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