Oyo, a hospitality
services platform, is reviving plans for a stock market debut after cost cuts
and recovery in travel helped it reduce losses. The hotel-booking company
submitted fresh financial documents to the Securities and Exchange Board of
India (SEBI) on Monday. It is now targeting an initial public offering (IPO) in
early 2023 provided that India’s stock market continues to hold up and economic
Oyo, formally known
as Oravel Stays Ltd, had filed preliminary IPO papers in 2021, only to drop the
listing plan earlier this year after the prolonged pandemic hurt its growth and
forced the company to cut thousands of jobs. The company reported its latest
financial results with the numbers showing narrower losses and a rebound in
sales for the year through March 2022 and the following three months.
Oyo and founder Ritesh
Agarwal are trying to execute a successful IPO after a series of setbacks in
their efforts to change the hotel and lodging industry. SoftBank Group Corp
founder Masayoshi Sen was an early investor, and the Japanese conglomerate owns
around 47% of the Indian startup. Agarwal, 28, owns about 33.15%.
Who is Ritesh
Ritesh Agarwal, 28,
is an entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Oyo Rooms, a network of 2,200
hotels operating in 154 cities across India – with monthly revenues of $3.5m
and 1,500 employees.
He was born on
November 16, 1993, in Bissam Cuttack, Odisha, and grew up in the small town of
Rayagada. He completed his schooling at St. John’s Senior Secondary School.
After schooling, he enrolled himself in the Indian School of Business &
Finance, Delhi but dropped out.
At the age of 16, he
was nominated among the brilliant minds to be selected for the Asian Science
Camp that was held at TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research), Mumbai. He
got the limelight for writing a best-selling book titled “Indian Engineering
Colleges – A Complete Encyclopedia of Top 100 Engineering Colleges.” He also
had an interest in computer programming and started taking coding lessons from
the age of 10
In 2012, Agarwal
started Oravel Stays, an online short-stay accommodation listing venture.
Later, it was incubated by Mumbai-based startup accelerator Venture Nursery.
As he was a college
dropout, Agarwal qualified for the 2013 Thiel Fellowship program. He was one of
the winners and received a grant of $100,000. The fellowship is set up by an
early Facebook investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, it gives $100,000 to
entrepreneurs below 20 years who skipped college and started their own
Based on the model
of US-based Airbnb, Ritesh Agarwal launched Oyo Hotels and Homes in 2013,
Currently, it is one of the world’s leading chains of hotels. Under his
leadership, Oyo expanded rapidly from India to Malaysia, China and the USA.
He raised a series
of funds from firms like SoftBank, China Lodging Group, Hero Enterprises, Grab
and Didi Chuxing. In 2019, Agarwal undertook a $1.5 billion stock buyback,
along with investing an additional $500 million in OYO valuing the startup at
From a small-town
boy selling SIM cards in Odisha, he became one of the world’s youngest
self-made billionaires. His estimated net worth in 2020 was Rs 7,253 crore
($1.1 billion) according to Hurun Rich List 2020. He is listed in the Forbes 30
under 30 list for Asia.
Agarwal has won many awards
and accolades for his work including the Business World Young Entrepreneur
Award. He is a regular speaker at entrepreneurial conferences and institutes
across India and the world.