Ritesh Agarwal


Ritesh Agarwal is an Indian billionaire entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of OYO Rooms.

Ritesh Agarwal
Ritesh Agrawal OYO.jpg
Agarwal in 2019
Born (1993-11-16) 16 November 1993 (age 28)
OccupationCEO and Founder of OYO
Years active2012–present
OrganizationOYO Rooms
AwardsThiel Fellowship, Business World Young Entrepreneur Award[1]

Early yearsEdit

Ritesh Agarwal was born in a Marwari family[2] in Bissam Cuttack, Odisha, India and brought up in Titilagarh.[3][4][5][6][7] Ritesh comes from a family that used to run a small shop in Southern Odisha city called Rayagada and his schooling was completed from Sacred Heart School in Rayagada.[8] At the age of 13, he started selling SIM cards.[9] He graduated from St. Johns Senior Secondary School, Bundi Road, Kota, Rajasthan and moved to Delhi in 2011 for college.[10] He dropped out of college, and was selected for the Thiel Fellowship (started by Peter Thiel) in 2013.[11][12]


Agarwal started a budget accommodation portal, Oravel Stays, for booking budget hotels.[13][14] It was accepted into the accelerator program by Venture Nursery in September 2012, and later was one of the winners of the 2013 Thiel Fellowship program, receiving a grant of $100,000.[15][16] The company was launched as OYO Rooms in May 2013.[17][18][19]

By September 2018, the company raised $1 billion.[20] In July 2019, it was reported that Agarwal purchased $2 billion in shares in the company, tripling his stake.[21][22][23]

His net worth in 2020 was estimated to be approximately $1.1 billion (₹7253 crore) according to Hurun Rich List 2020. As of February 2020, he is the second youngest self-made billionaire in the world after Kylie Jenner.[24][25][26]

He is listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 list for Asia.[27]


In June 2022, he was recognised by the International Hospitality Institute on the Global 100 in Hospitality, a list featuring the 100 Most Powerful People in Global Hospitality.[28]


An Allegation of cheating by Oyo's co-founderEdit

Agarwal is accused of cheating Oyo's co-founder, Manish Sinha, during the early period of the company.[29]

Fine in USAEdit

Agarwal signed agreements through his company OYO with hotel owners in the US in which the buildings of the owners will be rebranded under the OYO name in exchange of compensation and guaranteed revenue, but left out the information that OYO is not authorised to operate franchise business in the state of California for which in March 2019, OYO was fined $200,000 by California regulators. The company also received a cease and desist order from Washington, after regulators found OYO made offers to many hotel owners and managers, without proper registration.[30]

Allegations of fraudEdit

In September 2020, a case was lodged against Agarwal in Dera Bassi by a Chandigarh-based businessman for fraud and conspiracy under IPC 420 (cheating) 120 B (criminal conspiracy).[31]

OYO faced backlash from 10,000 hotel owners in India. According to them, OYO takes up half or more of the revenues through fees that are not disclosed at the time when the hotels join OYO.

According to an October 2019 report, police cases were filed against OYO by hotel operators in Bangalore, Mysore, and other cities of Karnataka accusing Agarwal of fraud. The latter, however, successfully appealed for a stay order on one case in Bangalore.[32]


  1. ^ "Ritesh Agarwal". Forbes. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  2. ^ Chowdhry, Seema; Khurana, Chanpreet (30 November 2013). "Entrepreneurs | The company of teens". Mint. Retrieved 15 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Here are 6 interesting facts you didn't know about OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  4. ^ "21-Yr-Old Start-Up Entrepreneur Ritesh Agarwal Started By Selling SIM Cards In Rayagada". The Times of India. 6 October 2015. Archived from the original on 18 August 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  5. ^ "His ₹30 lakh stake in Oyo would have been thousands of crores today but..." livemint. 25 July 2019. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  6. ^ Chengappa, Sangeetha. "For OYO's Ritesh Agarwal, there is more room for growth". @businessline. Archived from the original on 21 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  7. ^ "OYO raises $1 billion fund: How 24-year-old Ritesh Agarwal turned his idea into India's second most valuable start-up". Firstpost. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Ritesh Agarwal: Interesting facts about oyo founder ritesh agarwal". Business Insider.
  9. ^ "SIM card seller, college dropout, millionaire at 22: Boy from Naxal area scripts incredible story". The Economic Times. 25 June 2018. Archived from the original on 13 May 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  10. ^ Jr, Bernd Debusmann. "Too many entrepreneurs give up, says Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal". ArabianBusiness.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  11. ^ Gilchrist, Karen (30 January 2019). "Peter Thiel's advice helped this 25-year-old build one of India's most valuable start-ups". CNBC. Archived from the original on 14 June 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  12. ^ Nair, Radhika P. (11 May 2013). "Ritesh Agarwal, a young Indian entrepreneur selected for 'Thiel Fellowship'". The Economic Times. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  13. ^ "If you meet a 17- or 18-year-old entrepreneur, just invest in their firm". 9 July 2019. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  14. ^ "Ritesh Agarwal's Cayman based firm to bring funds to Oyo". The Economic Times. 17 July 2019. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  15. ^ Menon, Rashmi (19 August 2015). "Meet OYO Rooms' Ritesh Agarwal: The dropout who dined with Peter Thiel". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  16. ^ Bergen, Mark (10 May 2013). "Oravel founder Ritesh Agarwal wins Thiel Fellowship". Livemint. Archived from the original on 20 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Ritesh Agarwal's OYO, SoftBank set up investment vehicle, seek CCI approval for increasing stake in Oravel Stays". The Financial Express. 16 July 2019. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  18. ^ Gooptu, Biswarup (21 November 2018). "OYO manages more rooms in China than in India". The Economic Times. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  19. ^ "This is how 24 year-old Ritesh Agarwal built OYO Rooms a $5 billion hotel chain in just five years". The Financial Express. 26 September 2018. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  20. ^ Bloomberg, Saritha Rai (26 September 2018). "How 24-year-old Ritesh Agarwal built Oyo into a $5 billion startup in just 5 years". www.livemint.com. Archived from the original on 16 April 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  21. ^ Chaudhary, Deepti (19 July 2019). "Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal to triple his stake with $2 bn share buyback". Archived from the original on 21 July 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  22. ^ "India's Oyo valued at $10B after founder purchases $2B in shares". TechCrunch. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  23. ^ "OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal to buy back shares from early investors for USD 2 bn - Times of India". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 6 August 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  24. ^ Agarwal, Nikhil (27 February 2020). "Oyo's Ritesh Agarwal is the world's second youngest self-made billionaire". Livemint. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  25. ^ Tyagi, Harshita (27 February 2020). "This 26-yr-old Indian just became world's 2nd youngest self-made billionaire". Times Now. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  26. ^ "Oyo founder, Ritesh Agarwal, named the youngest Indian billionaire by Hurun". The Economic Times. 29 February 2020. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  27. ^ "30 Under 30 2016 Asia: Consumer Tech". Forbes.
  28. ^ Mix, Pulse (1 August 2022). "Dr Jeffrey Obomeghie and Dupe Olusola among the 100 most powerful people in global hospitality". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  29. ^ Mishra, Ashish (7 January 2015). "Will the real Ritesh Agarwal please stand up". Mint. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  30. ^ Jeans, David (23 April 2020). "Softbank-Backed Hotel Unicorn Oyo Faces Regulatory Smackdown In Multiple U.S. States". Forbes. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  31. ^ "Oyo founder booked for fraud, company refutes charges". Hindustan Times. 14 September 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  32. ^ "Hotel operators who partnered with Oyo call it 'biggest online fraud', demand criminal probe against Softbank-backed startup now poised to raise $1.5 bn - Business News, Firstpost". Firstpost. 8 October 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2021.

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