OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal to join Venture Catalysts

Hospitality tycoon Ritesh Agarwal, whose claim to fame was from his brainchild OYO, has now decided to turn his focus onto funding Indian startups across a plethora of domains. Already having started an investment firm in Singapore, called Aroa Ventures, Agarwal has now joined Mumbai-based integrated incubator Venture Catalysts.

Ritesh joins Venture Catalysts as an advisor. With his latest stint, he plans to boost entrepreneurship across Tier-I, Tier-II and Tier-III cities in India. Notably, the OYO founder also has an Odisha connect, as he was born and brought up in Rayagada. Having grown up in a comparatively small district, he realises the value of easy access to funding and early guidance from mentors.

Ritesh has successfully built the OYO chain into a $10 billion brand spread across eighty countries in a span of only seven years.

Agarwal emphasised, “I started OYO at a very young age and at a time when the ecosystem was not fully developed. I was fortunate enough to get some great mentors like Dr Apoorva (Dr Apoorv Sharma of Venture Catalysts), Bejul Somaia, and many others, who guided and supported me in my start-up journey… Now that I have established myself as an entrepreneur, I think it is time to give back to society and support entrepreneurs like them.”

As per data by Inc42, only 20% of all Indian startups are from Tier-II and Tier-III cities. The total funding for startups from Tier-II cities is around $1.3 billion. However, the number pales in comparison to the net amount of funding obtained by their counterparts from Tier-I cities. Ritesh seeks to eliminate this precise imbalance.