The field of online bookings of rooms and houses for a limited time is very nascent in India. Until 2007, the concept was not even heard of around the globe until AirBNB started their operations. AirBNB is now valued at $2 billion and has operations in 192 countries. Oravel is a startup which seeks to disrupt Indian vacation rentals by using this model in India. The India Digital Review reports that the young startup has raised seed funding from Venture Nursery, which is a startup accelerator backed by Indian Angels.
An Indian entrepreneur Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of Oravel Stays Pvt Ltd has won 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship for 2013. Under the fellowship, 20 individuals under 20 years of age are provided $100,000 each to the selected ones besides mentorship from a host of entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Napster founder Sean Parker and Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk.
Oravel.com, a rising popular stays alternative to booking hotels in India, and graduate from VentureNursery Season-1 acceleration program in 2012. Ritesh is the only Indian resident on this list of “20 under 20” years of age globally. Born in Bissam Cuttack village in Odisha, Ritesh set up Oravel.com when he was 18.
Agarwal, 19, is one of the youngest entrepreneurs from India to raise angel investments from India’s first angel backed accelerator, VentureNursery in 2012. He runs popular Oravel.com, a popular stays alternative to hotels in India and OYO Inns, a chain of affordable, tech-enabled inns.
As a Thiel Fellow, Ritesh will use technology to bring affordable and standardized accommodations to emerging economies across the world, starting with India.
“My acceleration process at VentureNursery has been the most vital contributor for this fellowship. Intensive acceleration process by a dozen plus mentors and experts led by Ravi Kiran and Shravan Shroff helped me mature from a young passionate founder in me to be a ‘still learning’ and an accountable startup CEO. The support and partnership helped us grow both emotionally and monetarily. I see this prestigious honour as a tremendous opportunity to changing the world with the Thiel Fellowship and VentureNursery support,” said Ritesh.
Majority of candidates came from the USA, including drop outs from Harvard, MIT and other elite universities of the USA and the Silicon Valley.