It seems that everyone in this world wants to reach a high-level of success, however, not everyone wants to be in the work to achieve it. The road to success is never easy and that’s why so few people ever make it to the end. However, one young man decided to prove the world wrong when he decided to drop out of college and start up his own business. Everyone was shocked when they found out just how successful his business had become!
20. Young Man
Ritesh Agarwal was born on 16th November 1993 in Bissamcuttack, a village in Rayagada district of Odisha. He came from meager beginnings as his father worked for an infrastructure company and his mother was a homemaker. However, none of that ever stopped him from dreaming big!
19. Dreaming Big
Throughout his childhood, Ritesh always kept an optimistic viewpoint toward life. He always felt like he was different from other students from a very young age. It was this difference that allowed him to eventually take a huge life risk that would forever change his life…
18. Feeling Different
“My childhood was similar to any small town kid’s. I was raised in a middle-class family in Rayagada. I was good at studies and played sports. The only difference was I had big dreams even as a child — I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur,” Ritesh revealed.
It was around this time that he began to show a specific interest in computers. It was at around eight-years-old that Ritesh began to become quite interested with computers. At only 8, Ritesh began to learn how to code software. However, the coding software he was learning at school wasn’t satisfying his hunger for learning.
16. Learning More
Ritesh wasn’t satisfied with the basic coding that he was learning inside of school. Instead of just accepting that, Ritesh decided to go on Google to learn more. He would also take his older brother’s books on coding and study them.
Ritesh continued his schooling at the Sacred Heart School in Rayagada, Orissa. Finally after finishing his schooling, he moved to Kota, Rajasthan to join IIT. It was during his free time in Kota when he got around to publishing something that would start off his successful ventures.
14. A Book
During his free time in Kota, Ritesh began to work on a book. He published a book named ‘Indian Engineering Colleges: A Complete Encyclopaedia of Top 100 Engineering Colleges’. This book went on to be one of the best-selling books sold on Flipkart. However, this was only the start of Ritesh’s success story…
13. Love of Travel
Eventually, Ritesh began to grow quite fond of traveling and would use any of his extra money to travel around. On weekends he would take trips across northern India and he would stay in PG’s and other various affordable hotels. He would also travel to attend summits where he met influential people…
At one point, Ritesh attended the TiE Global Summit in Delhi where entrepreneurs from all over India would congregate and talk to one another. After experiencing that and making such good connections, Ritesh began to travel to summits every weekend. However, his accommodation experiences weren’t always the best.
11. Hotel Problems
Soon, Ritesh was traveling every weekend to meet up with entrepreneurs and make connections. However, every time he booked a hotel for the weekend there seemed to be some problem that would pop up. Whether it was reservation problems, dirty hotel rooms, or unkept promises – Ritesh noticed that there was a huge problem there.
10. Too Expensive
However, Ritesh also realized that staying at a five-star hotel would be far too expensive. He began to think this problem over and realized that a lot of people must be running into the same problem. That’s when he decided to think of a solution.
9. Big Changes
It was at this point that Ritesh decided to make a huge life change that would change his life forever. He dropped out of the college and decided to work on a brand new project. He started up Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd an Indian version of the popular US-based online vacation rental website Airbnb.
In order to really learn about his business, Ritesh spent a year cleaning hotel rooms. Throughout his time working for hotels, he began to build a business model for Oravel. Finally, he perfected his business model and presented at the Thiel Fellowship, a global contest for students who drop out to start their own businesses.
7. Receiving The Money
Ritesh ended up winning the $100,000 fellowship prize and began to work on his project. It was at this point that Ritesh decided to rebrand the company as OYO Rooms which stands for On Your Own Rooms. Finally it felt as if his entrepreneurial dream was coming true.
6. The Goal
OYO Rooms aimed at providing a budget-friendly hotel experience for its guests. OYO Rooms are budget-friendly but provide better accommodations than cheaper alternatives. Soon enough, OYO Rooms received a ton of seed fundings from large companies such as Sequoia Capital India Advisors, Softbank group, Greenoak Capital, Lightspeed India and DSG Consumer Partners.
“At the age of 19, I was clear about one thing – I did not want to build something that was another business. I wanted to create something that created a real impact. And if I lost out, I would have great learning […] I will not build something that one thousand people kinda like, I will build something that 100 people will fall in love with,” Ritesh explained.
Soon enough, the OYO chain expanded all throughout India and quickly became a multi-billion dollar company. The start-up is now worth $5 billion and is only continuing to expand. Ritesh is still continuing to expand the brand and has even brought chains into China.
3. The Company
“The idea was to make small hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and amenities more accessible to travellers. If I were to describe OYO in just 3 words, it would be – Standardized, Affordable, and Technology Driven,” Ritesh explained. The OYO chain now has over 10,000 locations all over India.
2. Many Cities
Through Ritesh’s perseverance, he has been able to impact cities all throughout India and now China. Travelers are now able to stay in high-quality rooms for a fraction of the price they would pay for a typical hotel. They also have wonderful amenities such as AC, TV, hygienic food, and free Wi-Fi.
1. Bold Moves
Ritesh’s story is a truly inspiring one. The young man decided to drop out of college and instead chose to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. Now at 25, Ritesh is the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.