How did his journey begin?
Ritesh was born to a business class family in Bissam Cuttack in Orissa and attended the Sacred Heart School in Rayagada, Orissa.
During the growing up days in Rayagada, Odisha, it was all about fun and learning for him but his ways were rather unconventional from those of other kids.
His fun elements including screwing around with the computer, and trying hard to find opportunities to make mistakes, so that he could learn new stuff. And doing that he gained a keen interest in software!
This started with the idea of it, moved on to knowing about it and then the hunger just went on increasing.
To quench his thirst, he borrowed his elder brother’s books for programming. Some of the basic languages like Basic and Pascal were taught in school itself and the rest he managed to learn from Google baba.
Interestingly, he had started coding when he was just eight years old. So software had obviously become his love. And by the time he reached his 10th grade, he had made up his mind that he wanted to take up coding for a living.
In 2009, Ritesh left for Kota to join IIT and in no time he figured that Kota was anything but a place where one could learn coding. Hence, his dream of coding took a backseat and as he had a lot of time to spare, he started attending Bansal Tutorials that his dad had got him enrolled into. The rest of the time he used to just chill and travel around a lot.
Life as an Entrepreneur…!
In 2011, Ritesh moved to Delhi with intentions of starting up something of his own and at the same time to prepare for SAT to move to the US for further studies.
Now, money back then was not a problem for him because he had savings from Kota and the pocket money was good; roughly Rs.15,000 for a month.
But fortunately or unfortunately, SAT never happened. Hence, he used to do nothing but meet and read about entrepreneurs, start-ups, businesses, and especially Airbnb!
Transformation to OYO Rooms
That is when Ritesh went into the thinking mode and realized that, the biggest pain on the face of this earth while travelling was to find a good, affordable & most importantly “available” hotel to stay in but like always, most of us ended up staying in a crappy place with equally crappy staff, food, etc. which killed the whole trip.
This also reminded of the time he used to face accommodation issues during his trips. There were times when he was sold a crappy place for a huge amount and many-a-times he used find a nice place in a little amount.
This got him motivated again, to create an online yet social community to bring information about all good places together on one platform.
OYO Rooms was nothing but an idea to create India’s largest chain of efficient, young, standardized rooms with an intention to build the coolest chain of no add-on rooms which might not have Spa, Gym etc like the star hotels but will live upto the basic standards & high expectations for prices like never before.
In 2014; the company raised Rs. 4 Cr from Lightspeed Venture Partners (LSVP) and DSG Consumer Partners, at a pre-money valuation (valuation of a company prior to investment or financing) of Rs 14 Cr. What motivated Ritesh even more was that, by now the company was clocking gross bookings of more than Rs.1 Cr. per month.
Additionally, their OYO Rooms mobile app has been downloaded more than 160,000 times and more than 20,000 bookings have been made so far. The app ranks amongst the best-rated apps on Google Play Store and has also been listed as one of the top three apps in the ‘Travel & Local’ category.