Indian Unicorns – The next big Unicorn India can Produce by Joel Cornelius,IMI New Delhi

“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” –Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO

Kudos to the ones that have been right that one time! I’d raise a toast to the ones born in this century where ideas meet incubators and the innovations and uplifted by the ones who recognise brilliance when they see it.

To have it all figured at the age of 23 is just one dream to good to be true. The man who has acclaimed accolades on his proficient idea generation and execution at just that meagre age is Ritesh Aggarwal, the man behind OYO Rooms, a start-up that doesn’t cease to grow and is the word that pops up in every hotel seekers mind. A start-up which is worth 500 million dollars worth today and augments its operations everyday was one gem of an idea which catered to the latent needs of a traveller and now addressing the wants of everyone alike. From operating in an aggregator model to now building town houses of their own, OYO Rooms has taken a hegemonic leap from Oravel to the biggest chain of budget hotels in India.

It began with catering to the demands of the travellers seeking budget hotels but transformed into something spectacular, something extraordinary. From offering premium hotel rooms to owning townhouses of their own, Ritesh Aggarwal has figured it all out. The only recipient of the Thiel fellowship was not an amateur with an idea but a mastermind with a plan.

Today, OYO is on the brink of attaining something spectacular. It stands at a point where it has become the preferred choice of accommodation for the guests. The curve just doesn’t fall flat. The innovations such as 6 am check-in and the concept of having OYO Captain as your personal concierge are revolutionising the hospitality sector. As of October 2016 OYO had around 6500 hotels associated with it across 220 cities in India. Speaking of a global presence, it has launched its operations in Nepal as well as Malaysia. Sky is the limit for Ritesh Aggarwal and his start-up which is on is on its path to become the next big unicorn of India.

In the era of a technological revolution, OYO has realized the latent need of the people to book hotel rooms at the push of a button. OYO now stands at a stature where it holds a great deal of credibility amidst its users. It has attained so by ensuring the experience is the guest is standardized across the hotels and the only aim of the hosts is to enhance customer value.

With the rising spree of corporate funding that the start-ups have grasped which showcases the amount of confidence the investors have in OYO, it only bolsters the point that OYO will only rise tomorrow can be the next big thing with its strands reaching the global audience.
OYO aims not just to expand but to explode in the market, disrupting the way the guests chose their accommodations entirely. That been said, the OYO workforce is expanding exponentially with the start-up not just concentrating on the quantity but the quality by hiring from one of the best colleges around the world and choosing its staff from the best IHMs. The OYO campus in Gurgaon is aimed at the skilled development of one lakh workers in order to generate a workforce of remarkable quality thus working towards enhancing the customer value. Not just through employees but with the help of students OYO is changing the industry dynamics and massively influencing the hotel booking business. With the inception of the OYO Campus Crew where OYO Commanders and OYO Cadets strive to deliver is a one stop solution to making the idea of booking through OYO go viral.

Being a behemoth in the start-ups that have risen in recent years, OYO is exploring all possible ways to ensure its prevalence in the market. From corporate tie-ups, like the one with Ola, to its major acquisitions of brands like ZO Rooms, has buttressed the point that OYO is here to stay. OYO has also realized that 80% of all its bookings come from the offline market and to cater to this offline audience has hired a taskforce adept at providing the best customer experience even at 3 AM at night. OYO has received several accolades including Express IT Startup of the Year Award, NDTV Dream Chaser of the Year and IAMAI Digital Startup of the Year. Also, it was recognized by Business Today as among the Coolest Start-Ups in India and ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top employee attractors in India. OYO stands at a place where it is backed by leading global investors, including the SoftBank Group, Lightspeed India, Sequoia Capital and Greenoaks Capital. With such powerful endorsements the brand is only destined to grow bigger as the days pass.

Today, with the fact backed by numbers that OYO associated hotels have started to do well than they used to; budget hotels aspire to be a part of the OYO chain of hotels. OYO is more like an endorsement for these hotels since it has attained that credibility in the eyes of the guests to become a statement of quality promising a great customer experience whatsoever. Mesmerized by the way the company has carried forward its operations and amazed by the grandeur the start-up has attained under the manoeuvre of the best minds in the country and the protagonist of the story, Ritesh Aggarwal, it is only certain that OYO is on the path to build something beautiful and carve a start-up story which will be an inspiration.

It began with an idea so small but reached to the heights that have left everyone awestruck. If one were to bet money on start-ups to succeed, OYO would be the most certain bid today. Believing in the well contrived plan of action OYO is executing and the display of brilliance seen from the growth trajectory OYO is on, one can definitely say that it is destined to become the next big Unicorn of India. Cheers to the start-up to which sky is the limit!

Joel Cornelius,IMI New Delhi

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