OYO Rooms, commonly known as OYO, is India’s largest hospitality company consisting mainly of budget hotels. It was founded in 2013 by Ritesh Agarwal and has since grown to over 8,500 hotels in 230 cities in India, Malaysia, UAE, Nepal, China, and Indonesia.
In 2012, then 18-year-old Ritesh Agarwal, hailing from Odisha‘s Rayagada district, launched Oravel Stays, a website designed to enable listing and booking of budget accommodation. After three months of research and staying in over 100 bed and breakfast homes, guest houses, and small hotels, he pivoted Travel to OYO in 2013.
OYO partners with hotels to give similar guest experience across cities. Shortly after launching Oravel Stays, Ritesh Agarwal received a grant of $100,000 as part of the Thiel Fellowship from Peter Thiel.
In March 2015, OYO raised Series A round of funding $24 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Greenoaks Capital, and DSG Consumer Partners. In August 2015, OYO raised another $100 million from Softbank Group, an existing investor. A year later, in August 2016, OYO raised $90 million from Softbank Group, Innova Capital and existing investors. In September 2017, OYO announced it had closed a $250 million series D round of funding led by Softbank Group, new investor Hero Enterprises led by Sunil Kant Munjal, Sequoia Capital, Greenoaks Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. China Lodging made a strategic investment of $10 million in OYO in September 2017.
In late 2017, OYO launched OYO Home, an Airbnb-like marketplace for short-term managed rentals. OYO Home has the presence in more than 10 leisure destinations of India including Goa, Shimla, Pondicherry, Udaipur, Kerala etc. In April 2018, OYO launched its first international OYO Home in Dubai.
In September 2018, OYO raised $1 billion. The majority of the funding — $800 million, to be exact — was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund with participation from Lightspeed, Sequoia and Greenoaks Capital. OYO said there is also an additional $200 million that has been committed from as-yet-unnamed investors. The deal values the five-year-old company at $5 billion.
Hospitality firm OYO Hotels and Rooms on Monday said it is planning a center of superiority for training and capability building in the city. The company has also made an offer to the West Bengal government to uphold a real-time data warehouse for ‘Digital Arrival and Departure Register’.
“We are looking to set up an OYO Centre of Excellence (OYO Skill Institute) towards the end of the year, as we continue to scale our business further in the state. The government has extensive support with space,” CEO, India, and South Asia, Aditya Ghosh said here on the sidelines of CII Bengal Tourism Global Meet 2019.
The space for the training institute is likely to be in the New Town area. At present, OYO trains about 3,500 people per month from 26 institutes globally, company officials said. It estimates a capacity of around 7,500 rooms in West Bengal.
OYO manages a total of 4.5 lakh rooms across the world, as well as 1.64 lakh rooms in India, they said. About the digital data storehouse, Ghosh said it aims to provide real-time updates to state governments on arrivals and departures, making this a “more efficient and transparent” process as compared to the manual version.
“At this point, we have seen reception from the state governments of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Telangana of our projected digitization of guess entry and departure records,” an OYO official said.
West Bengal Tourism Minister Gautam Deb said the state was mounting tourist areas and circuits and is seeking private investments. The state was also prepared to come up with an app for tourists to give their feedback, besides other digital support.