Every once in a while, we come across an individual who proves the prejudices wrong and goes on to create his own story. The Indian hotel industry has grown a lot in recent years, and to a large extent, the credit goes to Ritesh Agarwal- the founder of OYO rooms. The big thing about Ritesh is not that he found a company but that he found it at the age of 19 when most of us are busy getting admissions into college. He took some huge risks to reach where he is today.
“Entrepreneurs Are Great At Dealing With Uncertainty And Also Very Good At Minimizing Risk. That’s The Classic Entrepreneur.” – Mohnish Pabrai
Inception of Experiences
Born in a small town of Odisha, Ritesh’s habits suggested that he was not a conventional kid. He had a wish of doing normal things differently, and whenever he gets a chance, he used to experiment with the electronic gadgets around. He wanted to do something exceptionally different. Not knowing how to begin, he used to read the programming books of his elder brother. Just at a small age of 8, Ritesh started coding but later dropped it as a career option. He always wanted to be on his own, and this led him to sell SIM cards at the age of 13.
“Knowing Is Not Enough; We Must Apply. Wishing Is Not Enough; We Must Do.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Dropout- A Blessing In Disguise
Once Ritesh realized that he could not lead a regular life, he decided to give it up. He dropped out of college, everyone aware of this, rejected this step. But luck favors the brave, as they say. His dropping out of college came as a blessing in disguise for him as he was now eligible for the Peter Thiel Fellowship. He went to Stanford and became not only the first Indian but also the first Asian to win the fellowship. This became the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey. He received a grant of $100000 as part of the fellowship.
“Failure Will Never Overtake Me If My Determination To Succeed Is Strong Enough.” – Og Mandino
Using Research As A Tool
He hardly had any practical experience about entrepreneurship, and he wanted to be well prepared before taking the big step. Instead of taking any classes from experienced people or joining any institute, he trusted himself and his unique idea involving hotel rooms. This blooming mind started traveling and hiring rooms in budgeted hotels all around India. Ritesh talked to customers about their needs that were yet to be fulfilled while they stayed in a hotel. He learned about the problems they faced and made some first-hand reports of his interactions. It brought fruit, and Ritesh gained a whole lot of experience. Over time, his savings were almost done and dusted on renting and staying in hotels. But he knew the option of going back home was just not his thing. He kept on pursuing his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He invested all his time and money into the research work, hoping that one day, he would be on his own.
“Don’t Let Yesterday Take Up Too Much Of Today.” – Will Rogers
The Big Bang
In 2011, Ritesh culminated his experience into a company, Oravel. It was a platform for booking hotels, and in 2013, Oravel became OYO(On Your Own). In the beginning, it had only one hotel in Gurgaon, but as time passed, Ritesh’s never stopping hard work made it stretch to more than 8500 hotels across India. OYO was also recently launched in Malaysia.
“People, Who Are Crazy Enough To Think They Can Change The World, Are The Ones Who Do.” – Rob Siltanen
Ritesh’s journey was successful, as he was determined to achieve his dreams. He had one thing clear in his mind that he had to do something that was out of the box. He worked day in and day out to achieve it, and in the end, got to the rays of success. He truly portrays, that no matter what people have to say, if you are determined enough, one day those people will ask for your autograph.