Odia youth on India's business horizon

Bhubaneswar,August 5:Ritesh Agrawal of  Rayagada has become one of the most sought-after name in the entrepreneurship horizon of India. After being awarded the Thiel Fellowship, Rithesh is once again in news after a Japanese company has agreed to invest Rs 630 crore in his company which was started by him at the age of 17.

Ritesh, who is now 21 years old, won the prestigious 2013 Thiel Fellowship on Friday becoming the only winner from the country. Born in Bissam Cuttack of Rayagada district, Agarwal had created the travel site 'oravel.com' when he was 17. The site now offers more than 3,500 listings for affordable hotels, beds and breakfasts and other accommodations across India.

Started by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, the former founder and CEO of PayPal, the fellowship provides a cash award of USD 1,00,000 to entrepreneurs aged under 20, provided they skip college and delve immediately into a business for two years.

Notably, before receiving the fellowship, Ritesh joined a company called Worth Growth Partners as its CEO. A year later, he launched the website. After getting his fellowship, he launched 'Oyo Rooms', a company which provides tourist hospitality services, in collaboration with branded budget hotels.