Success Story of Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO of OYO Rooms

Known for being the founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, one of the world’s largest chains of hotel rooms and houses, Ritesh Agarwal managed to become a billionaire at the mere age of 24. 

Let’s dig deeper into his incredible journey from nothingness to reaching the pinnacle of success. 

Biography of Ritesh Agarwal

Born on 16 November 1993 in Rayagada, a small town in Orissa, India, life’s not always been easy for Ritesh. He grew up poor and according to him, the first 18 years of his life were one of the toughest times he ever went through.

After being done with high school, he didn’t adhere to the conventions of schooling and said goodbye to the education system by not attending college. When he was around the age of 17-18, he did several internships and the stipend he got through them was enough to sustain his passion for traveling.

He started traveling by bus to various places in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, etc. While traveling, he noticed that some of the hotels there were unreasonably costly.

Right after that, he discovered some small overlooked hotels which were cost-effective. He hence set out on a mission to make a website that helped people find and book cheaper hotels near them. This led to the birth of

This business started off on a good note but failed in about a year. The main obstacle that he encountered was service quality. There was no way to ensure top-tier service quality to his customers.

This hindrance led to the creation of OYO Rooms in 2013. OYO is an abbreviation of On Your Own and is headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana. 

Success Story OYO Rooms

While we were busy nitpicking about trivial stuff when we were 19, Ritesh was busy finding real solutions to real problems. He says, “Money is not what I ever cared about. It’s always been about solving real problems for me”.

He came across a fairly dormant hotel while he was traveling and noticed that its owner wasn’t financially benefitting from it. Ritesh took the biggest leap of faith in his entire life and promised the owner to transform the hotel into something worth living in.

Ritesh significantly improved the quality of the hotel by adding room service and beautiful photo frames, changing the beds, light bulbs, and whatnot. He then took a photo of the newly modified rooms and put them on the internet.

The hotel that used to have an occupancy rate of less than 20% suddenly started having more than 90% and the number of customers skyrocketed like never before. This was the first ever hotel that he transformed in Gurgaon in 2013 and his journey never stopped since. 

When I was able to change one hotel, I was pretty sure I could change hundreds,” he says.

Today, OYO doesn’t just confine itself to the borders of India. OYO has a presence in more than 1,40,000 rooms and hotels in more than 80 countries including China, Malaysia, the USA, the UK, UAE, Indonesia, and so many more.

Inspiring Journey of Ritesh Agarwal

Ritesh is the first ever Asian to receive the Thiel Fellowship — [A scholarship worth $100,000 for young innovators]. After applying to this scholarship with minimal expectations, he got shortlisted along with 40 other candidates and they were all given a chance to travel to the US for pitching their unique ideas.

To his massive surprise, he ended up receiving the scholarship. He’s been featured on the Hurun Rich List 2020 with a net worth of $1.1 billion and also on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Consumer Technology list in 2016. On top of that, he’s won the Business World Young Entrepreneur Award. 

He strongly believes that where you come from doesn’t define you in the slightest. The only thing that matters according to him is your willingness to learn new things and not being afraid to prove yourself and your endless capabilities.

He adds that you should take pride in your work no matter how trivial it might seem. He adds that one shouldn’t be ashamed of the kind of work they do as every job is crucial. 

Ritesh, with the help of his extraordinary vision and goals, has been able to create an impressive life for himself. He is the living embodiment of the fact that just because you didn’t attend college doesn’t mean that you don’t have the potential to unlock superior things in life. 

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