OYO's Ritesh Agarwal sets up early-stage fund Aroa Ventures

Started by OYO Founder Ritesh Agarwal and ex-CFO of Innov8 Gaurav Gulati, Singapore-based Aroa Ventures will invest between $500,000 and $5 million in segments, including consumer, technology, and leisure infrastructure sectors.

In an effort to back startups in the early stage, Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, Oyo Rooms, along with ex-CXO of Innov8 Gaurav Gulati, have set up a startup investment fund called Aroa Ventures.

Singapore-based Aroa Ventures, on its website, says that it is partial to businesses that have the ability to create disproportionate value through adjacencies. The new fund will invest between $500,000 and $5 million in segments, including consumer, technology, and leisure infrastructure sectors.

Ritesh Agarwal, Founder, OYO

The website further reads, "We believe that the long-term environment will always be favourable for making value-add investments in companies with proven unit economics and high potential to scale.  At Aroa, we focus on growth-stage businesses in the consumer, technology, and leisure infrastructure sectors." 

"We are operationally-oriented and seek to partner with entrepreneurs of high repute, building long-lasting businesses. Beyond capital, our team of serial entrepreneurs and experienced professionals work alongside portfolio companies to accelerate their growth, and to deliver better risk-adjusted returns," it adds.

While Ritesh started OYO — now a hospitality unicorn — in 2013, Gaurav worked as the Chief Operating Officer at coworking startup Innov8, which was later acquired by OYO for Rs 200 crore in 2019.

Aroa Ventures is sponsored by RACo holding company, which is reportedly controlled by Ritesh. Earlier, in 2019, Ritesh had setup RA Hospitality, a Cayman Islands-based entity, through which he undertook funds to the tune of $2 billion, to further increase his stake through purchase of fresh equity, as well as buyback of shares in OYO.

In an earlier chat with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, Ritesh had spoken about how OYO's business saw 50 to 60 percent drop in revenue since April due to COVID-19. He added that he was not overly worried about getting back to business post the pandemic. "OYO has large cash reserves since we raised capital pre-COVID-19, and are confident that we will come out of this crisis," he said.

He had also said, “One thing you can’t fault us for is resilience. Mehnat se haemin kabhi bhi darr nahi laga (we have never been afraid of hard work). We have been through some very tough times. We may fall but we always came back and worked harder to land on our feet.”
Edited by Suman Singh