Shark Tank India: Here’s what Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal says about his journey so far in the show

Ritesh Agarwal, the founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, has recently joined Shark Tank India 3 as its youngest shark. In an interview with Hindustan Times sharing insights about his journey so far, the 30-year-old entrepreneur said that being a judge at Shark Tank India is like mental jogging.

“I think it wasn’t easy. We, as entrepreneurs, are used to taking our time. But here, someone comes to pitch, and you have instantly made a decision right after asking the right questions. It’s almost like mental jogging. I think it’s really a huge deal for entrepreneurs, especially financially, whether you invest or not. Regardless of whether I and other Sharks invest or not, our focus is always on how we can add some value to the entrepreneur. Of course, the goal is to try and see if we can invest and make a deal,” Agarwal said.

Furthermore, when asked about his journey so far in the show as the youngest shark, he said, “Fascinating, because essentially people feel through the show that entrepreneurship is as much appreciated as any other art or skill. I remember my first pitch. Right from there on the show, Amit Jain (co-founder and CEO of CarDekho) gave me feedback. Of course, with Vinita Singh, Namita Thapar, and Piyush Bansal, it has been an amazing experience. They are not only brilliant entrepreneurs, but great co-Sharks.”

Agarwal, who ranked just below Kylie Jenner as one of the youngest self-made billionaires in 2020, founded the company at the age of 24 in 2013. While the company may be associated with certain controversies, there is no denying that it has significantly elevated the standards of the hospitality sector. With a commitment to providing affordable hotel accommodations on a national scale, the enterprise draws inspiration from the successful American venture, Airbnb.

Agarwal further clarified that the show is not scripted and is like how it is shown on TV. “ I have myself been in the tank now. The first time I see the company is when I am on my seat. When the door opens is the first time when the viewers see the founder, it’s also the first time I see them. I get to hear them and then ask questions before making the decision. This is truly how it is done.”

He further added, “My aim is to provide high transparency about the investments that we make. It is critical to make sure that there is a very high level of detailing about the investments we make. Maybe because the entrepreneurs changed their minds or the estimates of their financials are different… I think our intention is to transparently communicate that. My job will be to see how much transparency I can bring in terms of start-up investment so that there’s even more excitement among founders.”

Agarwal further talked about his challenges he faced as an entrepreneur when he started Oyo. He said, “ My perspective is that I am in love with failures and challenges. I try to embrace them as much as possible. For example, when my second hotel opened, first-day customers came to my property. There was a floor where water wasn’t available and they wanted to stay there. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to let them in. And then, they wanted to take a shower at night. I thought that I will transfer the water from another tank to another myself. We, all in the middle-income family, know how to transfer water from one container to another by sucking out the air from a pipe (siphoning) and moving the air.”




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Published: 26 Jan 2024, 07:36 PM IST

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