Startup City Magazine
A monthly magazine for business startups and young entrepreneurs.




The hotel start-up based in India, Oyo does not need any introduction today. It is the world’s third-largest and fastest-growing hospitality chain and franchised hotels, home and living spaces.

The company started its operations by building its business model around the aggregator business model but things have changed since 2018. Present-day, it is operating 450,000 listings and 5,000 cities in India, Malaysia, UAE, China, Indonesia, and Nepal. The budget room aggregator Oyo Rooms provides rooms at prices falling under a reasonable budget segment, enabling customers to access seamless amenities and experiences. The full form of OYO is ‘On Your Own’.

Oyo dost does not own or operate most of the hotels; it just ties up with the holes and ensures the hotels provide quality services to the guests, who book rooms through the OYO platform or application. The current operating model of Oyo is to ask the hotel partners top to operate them as a franchise. The company has good brand equity and boasts a 100% increment in revenue to its partner hotels. The major service of the company includes Hotel Rooms, Oyo Flagship, Oyo Townhouse, Studio Stays, Event, and Other Long Stays, Commercial Places, and Oyo Wizard.

Ritesh Agarwal

The co-founder and CEO of Oyo Rooms, Ritesh Agarwal was born on 16 November 1993, in Cuttack, Odisha, India. He did his schooling from St. Johns Senior Secondary School, Kota, and Rajasthan. Ritesh is an alumnus of the University of London where he did his graduation. Today, Ritesh heads among the most valuable start-up but there was a phase in his life when he used to sell SIM cards. He started travelling to different places in India at the age of 17. He was completely unsatisfied with the current accommodation business in the country and hence decided to start a hotel business. Today, he is one of the biggest businessmen in India. He has won many national and international awards because of his creative mind and hard work.

The Journey of Budget Room Aggregator

The story of Oyo Rooms almost like a fairy tale; an 18 years college dropout Ritesh Agarwal has taken the foundation of OYO Room in 2013 after spotting the untapped opportunity in organizing India’s neighbourhood hotels.  He seemed to harbour dreams of entrepreneurship that compelled Ritesh to take the plunge with his first start-up.

Initially, the company enabled listing and budget accommodation of hotel rooms and later it was converted to be Oyo Rooms. In the year 2013, the company’s founder, Ritesh was selected for Thiel Fellowship; this is a 2-year-old program started by the Paypal. This gave him funding of $100,000 to pursue and make real the idea of his start-up and Oyo was launched in Gurgaon. In 2014, the company received its first Series A funding.

Next year, Oyo was funded with a whopping amount of $25 million from its investors namely Lightspeed India, Seqoiua and others. In the same year in April, the Oyo app was launched that started writing the success story of this hotel chain start-up. Oyo now expanded to Kolkata, Goa, and Bangalore and has almost come up to 2000 hotels, 20,000 rooms and 100 cities in the country. In July 2015, Oyo bagged $100 million in Series C round of funding from SoftBank.

In January 2016, the company hit the 1 million check-ins marks and created an advent outside India into the Asia Pacific market, beginning with Malaysia. The hotel chain continued its expansion aspiration and launched a business in Nepal in 2017.

2018 is considered the year that marked the wider creation of the Oyo empire in Asia-Pacific and started the global proliferation by establishing operations in the Dubai, Indonesia, UK, UAE, Singapore, and China. The start-up became a unicorn in September afrisingsing funding of $800 million from SoftBank. This year, Oyo gets supported by Greenoaks, Lightspeed India, China Lodging Group and Sequoia.

Acquisitions and Partnerships

Novascotia Boutique Homes: It is a Chennai-based serviced apartment operation. Oyo marked its first major buyout and established its presence in the service apartment by acquiring Novascotia Boutique. is a Mumbai-based online marketplace for wedding venues and vendors. It was acquired by Oyo in 2018 with 40 billion dollar.

Leisure Group: Oyo announced the acquisition of Amsterdam-based Company in May this year. It is Europe’s largest rental company.

Hooters Casino Hotel: Oyo purchased this hotel in $135 million and made its first major investment in the US.

Today, Oyo hotels are synonymous with quality-assured hospitality services; they brought wonderful offering to provide an amazing experience to guests and ensure high profit for asset owners at the same time. The company is on the way to be renowned as the global force that transformed the way people stay away from home.

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