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Why be a Spectator,when you can be a Gladiator in the Startup Arena ?

At 21 years, Ritesh Agarwal is a poster boy for the Indian Startup Ecosystem.

Born in Bissamcuttack, a village in Rayagada district of Odisha, Ritesh started coding when he was eight years old.

When he was 17, Started 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.

In late 2012,when he was 18, he founded Oravel, an Indian version of the online rental site Airbnb. The same year, he secured funding of Rs.30 lakh from VentureNursery.

In 2013, at 19 years Ritesh was selected for the Thiel Fellowship—the first Asian graduate. Started by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, the founder & former CEO of PayPal Inc., the fellowship is intended for students under the age of 20. It offers them $100,000 over two years as well as guidance and other resources, to drop out of school and create a start-up.

Later he chucked the idea of Oravel and changed his business to OYO Rooms, a marketplace for branded budget hotels, just as Olacabs is a marketplace for cabs.

In early 2014, OYO Stays received funding of $650k (Rs.4 crore) from Lightspeed Venture Partners (LSVP) and DSG Consumer Partners, Singapore, at a pre-money valuation of Rs.14 crore.

When he was 20, OYO Stays received funding of $6 million (about Rs.36 crore) from Sequoia Capital and LSVP at a pre-money valuation of $60 million(Rs.140 crores).

In March 2015,at 21 years he raised a $25 million(150 crores) Series A round from Greenoaks capital, Sequoia Capital & previous investors at a valuation of around $100 million (600 crores).

This month he raised a $100 Million(630 crores) Series B round with Softbank as Lead Investor at a valuation expected to be around $400 million( 2500 crores).

As of July 2015, the company has 1000+ hotels offering 14000 rooms in 80+ cities.The company plans to add more than 600 hotels and 10 more cities by the end of 2015. OYO Rooms has been named India’s largest budget hotel chain.

While raising money doesn’t translate to success and congratulating an entrepreneur for raising money is like congratulating a chef for buying the ingredients. Funding is just the enabler towards your company’s vision and what problem you want to solve. So Good luck, Ritesh!

What Ritesh has achieved and executed at 21 years despite being a college dropout is inspiring, proves age is just a number and you don’t need any work experience to start a company. Just surround yourself with people smarter and experienced than you.Learn from them and execute.

If you have a problem you want to solve and not sure when to startup because you don’t have the experience. NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO START UP. Or better yet join a Startup which is solving your problem!.

Why be a spectator when you can be a Gladiator in the Startup Arena ?



  • daniel ndukwu

    Your statement, praising an entrepreneur for raising funding is like praising a chef for buying the ingredients is truer than you know. Nice read, I had no idea the Indian startup scene was so vibrant. Why don’t you update more often?

  • Thanks Daniel. Will do! You should checkout to know more on whats happening in the Indian startup ecosystem every week!