I prefer not to label myself a 'shark,' states OYO's Ritesh Agarwal

In an interview, OYO CEO Ritesh Agarwal discusses his entrepreneurial journey, emphasizing consistency and support for founders. He shares insights on Shark Tank India and offers valuable advice for today's entrepreneurs.

By Sonali Pandey
New Update
ritesh agarwal

The latest season of Shark Tank India has captivated audiences, especially with the introduction of new 'sharks'. Deepinder Goyal's sharp focus and Ritesh Agarwal's amiable demeanor have garnered attention. In an exclusive interview with, Ritesh, the CEO of OYO Rooms, shared insights into his journey and his unique perspective on being labeled a 'shark'.



Ritesh Agarwal, CEO of OYO Rooms, reflects on his entrepreneurial journey, starting OYO at 18, overcoming skepticism, and the growth of the company. He emphasizes the importance of persistence and consistency in building a successful venture.

Origin of OYO


Agarwal shares the inception of OYO in 2013 with just one hotel in Gurgaon. Despite initial doubts, the occupancy rose from 20% to 80-90%. OYO now serves 17,000 hotels and 1,50,000 homes. Agarwal underscores the significance of learning from setbacks and converting critics into believers.

Shark Tank India Impact 

Expressing his wish for a platform like Shark Tank India during OYO's early days, Agarwal believes the show has played a crucial role in promoting entrepreneurship. He highlights its influence on encouraging risk-taking and fostering a culture where entrepreneurship is seen as a legitimate opportunity.


Ritesh Agarwal as a 'Shark'

Agarwal distances himself from the 'shark' label, humorously suggesting he's more like a dolphin. He clarifies his motivation on the show is to support founders, valuing both great ideas and the individuals behind them. Agarwal emphasizes the importance of the founder ('jockey') over the idea ('horse').

Words of Wisdom


With the current precarious business market, Agarwal offers advice for entrepreneurs. He stresses the significance of focus, innovation, and staying close to customers. Highlighting the ongoing transition of OYO to profitability, he believes Indian startups can thrive in the country's robust economy.

India's Entrepreneurial Landscape

Agarwal acknowledges the challenges in today's startup ecosystem, with companies moving towards profitability. He sees India as a bright market globally, encouraging entrepreneurs to leverage the opportunities within the Indian economy.


Ritesh Agarwal's journey from a young entrepreneur facing skepticism to the CEO of a successful company showcases the resilience needed in the business world. His views on Shark Tank India reflect a broader impact on fostering entrepreneurship, while his words of wisdom provide valuable insights for emerging entrepreneurs navigating the startup landscape.