Oyo plans to raise $1.5bn and ramp up operations in Dublin

7 Oct 2019

Image: © balky79/Stock.adobe.com

Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal plans to invest $700m of his own money into the SoftBank-backed company to buy back shares from early investors.

On Monday (7 October), Oyo founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal said he will invest $700m in his company’s Series F financing round, in order to buy more shares in the SoftBank-backed business. The Indian hospitality start-up plans to raise around $1.5bn in the round.

Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia India and SoftBank Group will also participate in the round, which could value the six-year-old start-up at $10bn.

Oyo, which offers hotel accommodation and short-term home rentals to tourists, now operates in 80 markets and manages more than 1.2m rooms. The company employs around 20,000 people across Europe, Asia and the US.

Oyo recently acquired Danish pricing optimisation business Danamica, following an announcement that the company plans to invest €300m into its European expansion.

Prior to Agarwal’s announcement, the company had raised around $1.7bn in funding, including a significant investment from one of the company’s most well-established competitors, Airbnb.

Future Dublin office

Less than a week ago, Oyo posted a job listing to LinkedIn, seeking a head of business development for Ireland to strategise for the company’s future in Ireland and the UK.

According to Fora, the company has also advertised vacancies for the roles of general manager and operations manager, which will be based out of a “future Dublin office”.

The company announced plans to launch in the UK market in September 2018, promising to expand to 10 British cities over the course of 18 months, with a £40m investment. At the time, the company told Reuters that it planned to sign up 300 independent UK hotels before 2020.

It’s yet not clear what the company’s expansion plans are for its Irish operation or its hospitality business in the Irish market, although the company said in the jobs ads that it wants to “build the largest hotel business in Ireland”.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic