At 25, an age when most people would still be on the lookout for that perfect job, Ritesh Agarwal, founder of OYO Hotels and Homes, is leading a unicorn grade startup. Not only has Agarwal helped shape the company’s vision and the Indian market’s perception of budget travel, but he has also taken OYO into new territories such as coworking spaces, cloud kitchens, premium hotels and global expansion.
As the company continues to grow, OYO CEO Agarwal shared a few insights into factors that helped OYO stay successful.
To begin with, he credited OYO’s hotel partners — despite the widespread protests — and called this network a key differentiator for the company. Agarwal talked about how the company’s seemingly overnight success is backed by hard work of around five years and perseverance by not only the management but everyone working in the startup too. OYO, according to him, has always tried to inculcate the feeling that the company’s mission is the top-most priority, among its employees.
Ritesh Agarwal On Hiring The Right Leaders
Agarwal also believes that hiring the right leaders and not letting them go has held the company in good stead. He talked about how OYO has never had to let go of any senior management personnel or executive, and how the company has retained talent from the beginning while other Indian startups faced a lot of attrition.
The founder also credited the company’s distributed leadership, which he claimed, has ensured quick decision-making across departments. According to him, a diversified group of leaders has been a key to their growth.
His strong belief in taking care of his employees also resonates with OYO’s CSR outreach programmes. One such programme is called OYO Reach, which works for causes such as rainwater-harvesting systems in water-deficient cities, harnessing technology and resources to create a culture of sustainability, focus on skill development, and economic opportunity or job creation in cities where it is based. He further claimed that these initiatives have helped boost local tourism in many cities.
“I am only 25 now and have a long way to go personally but I am considering a few ideas that will help me make a meaningful contribution. You will soon hear about this.”
Talking about causes dear to him personally, Agarwal said he would like to do more to encourage entrepreneurship, improve livelihoods as well as help humanitarian rescue and relief efforts.