GOQii founder Vishal Gondal recently revealed that back in 2011, he had turned down the opportunity to own a 15% stake in Oyo Rooms. Talk about life long regrets. Back in 2011, Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal was looking to raise money for his startup. He had then offered Gondal a 15% stake in his company for just 30 lakh, but Gondal had turned it down.
Gondal has talked about his encounter with Ritesh back in the day in an article recently. In the article, he has talked about how Ritesh has approached him with a business model by the name of Oravel. Its model was said to be similar to that of Airbnb.
According to Gondal, Ritesh’s ambition was to hit 9 lakh bookings a month in the next four years. He also wanted to expand Oravel to 30 cities in India and had estimated to generate Rs. 650 crore in annual revenues.
However attractive the numbers where Gondal was unsure about whether to invest in the project or not. He was skeptical if the business model would thrive in India and if Indians would be keen on staying in the stranger’s houses. Gondal decided to wait it out and see how the concept actually pans out before making any big decisions.
Later, Ritesh Agarwal himself concluded that the concept might not end up fruitful. Instead of running an Airbnb-like model, he soon pivoted to Oyo Rooms, which aimed to provide standardized hotel rooms at reasonable rates.
Oyo is now the third-largest hotel chain the world and operates in 800 cities around the globe. It’s also worth north of $5 billion.
Gondal deeply regrets on missing out on the opportunity which would have surely made him billions today. Responding to which Ritesh Agarwal has tweeted saying ” The circumstances were different back then. As the man behind Indiagames, you’re an original start-up hero. I have learned a lot from the way you do business. You may not have invested in OYO, but I certainly learned a lot from you.”
Sometimes if something sounds too good to be true, take the leap of faith cause it might turn out to be just that.