India’s hospitality behemoth OYO joined the unicorn club in 2018 and now its CEO Ritesh Agarwal has scooped the title of ‘Youngest Self-Made Billionaire’ from Hurun with a net worth of $1.1 billion as listed in Hurun Global Rich List 2020. Agarwal being 26 is the second one after Kylie Jenner who earned the title at the age of 21 last year from Forbes.
Indeed an inspiring and proud moment for India and the startup ecosystem of India. Donald Trump, the President of the United States during his 36 hours of visit to India met Agarwal and called him ‘brilliant businessman’. “I actually know of your company. Not such a small company, by the way. Good job.” Trump added.
Agarwal during the meeting told Trump that he is planning to invest $2 billion for further expansion in the US and also aiming to partner with Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump who is a businesswoman and also the senior advisor to Trump.
Ritesh Agarwal, a college dropout started OYO, a hotel aggregator in 2013 which initially was dealing only in budget hotels. Now, OYO has expanded into premium stays across over 80 counties including India, US, UAE, China, Middle Eastern countries including UAE, Saudia Arabia, and Europe.
The company is backed by a chunk of institutional investors including Softbank, Didi Chuxing, and many more.
India’s hospitality unicorn entered the US market in February 2019, and short while opened a 35,000 sq. ft. casino in Las Vegas called OYO Hotel & Casino which was earlier owned by Hooters Hotel.
In February 2019, OYO entered Saudi Arabia (KSA) by signing an MoU with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia under which OYO is aiming to create over 5K jobs for Saudis.
In July 2019, the company launched its premium segment under the title Capital O in UAE for business & leisure stays for affordable pricing ranging between AED200-300.
In August 2019, OYO hired Mandar Vaidya as the CEO for the Middle East and South-East Asia to drive growth and scale operations in South-East and Middle East markets. The very same month, the company launched the Arabic version of the app specifically for the UAE.
In September last year, OYO signed an MoU with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) to develop a luxury hospitality ecosystem across multiple cities in the kingdom by investing a gigantic sum of $1 billion.