The 25-year-old Oyo Rooms founder Ritesh Agarwal, sharing a podium with Patajali's founder Ramdev Baba, engaged in a discussion over the topic 'Disrupt to Surge' with editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami. The young man from a small district in Orissa, Rayagada, shared his inspirational story, taking the audience through the path of his journey brimming with aspirations and a goal set for 2023.
Belonging to a small town in Orissa, to now having big aspirations for his brain-child. Ritesh shared his story and the emergence of the brand, that by 2023 has the goal to become the largest hotel chain in the world.
He said, "In all my life when I told people about Rayagada, only 6-7 people have heard the name. Wherever I go I want to bring up the name of my native place, so more people are aware of it. But the place I came from, approximately 75% of the population was from below the poverty line."
"With time I learned a lot, I felt like doing something new each day. When I came to a city, the first time I saw how people use new services. That's when I hoped to make a company of my own. After my 12th grade, I will start a company as a hobby that has eventually transformed to become not as India's largest hotel chain, China's top 5 hotel chains and world's top 10," he added.
Sharing his story, the Oyo Rooms founder shared three key-takeaways that he assimilated with time-
First- Patience and perseverance
Agarwal giving simple tips for entrepreneurs said, "I loved few things during this process, the first thing that in our country the need for patience and perseverance is essential. I've been asked the difference between people who continue as entrepreneurs and the ones who quit, I believe every overnight success is at least a five-year-old story and if that's not the situation then be careful about the sustainability situation."
Elaborating on the second most valuable lesson, he said, "Second that I learned is leadership and the people around you, their mission orientation is very important. I have always said, the place I've started, if I go back to that, I won't have any regrets in life. But if I regret not putting enough effort or risk then it will bother me."
Third- Hospitality for the middle-class
Belonging to a middle-class family himself, Agarwal aspires to create a comfortable living space for this class, elaborating on that, he said, "The third most important thing is that hospitality is such an industry that it is always a playground for the rich but in our country over a billion of them travel in trains, buses, and small cars. Over 75-80% of the population travels from one town to another, be it for pilgrimage, holiday or work but no one ever thought how to improve their life. I come from a middle-class family, holidays for us was always a pilgrimage, and the question of where to stay was the hardest thing in that trip. This is not a problem of India alone, but around the world, finding a better living space for middle-class is a huge challenge and I wish to be one of those people who brings better living space for those people.
"And while doing so, I hope to create the world's largest hotel chain by 2013," he added.