Ritesh Agarwal, Founder, OYO Rooms

I often find myself answering the question that how to build a strong momentum startup. While we still believe that this is just the beginning, and there’s a long way ahead of us, the past five years of co-creating OYO grounds up with leaders, I’ve realised that perseverance and hard work, backed by rock-solid leaders and partners, does the trick.

The leadership team is the backbone of any company – and pretty much the bedrock for a young company or startup. But the hard thing is to not only identify and bring those leaders on board, but also to retain them, ensure they understand and completely buy into the company’s philosophy.

From day one, we have a razorsharp focus on building a team with great leaders and partners who are equally committed to OYO’s mission. But by the middle of 2015, we had decided to move to the next level and scale rapidly. For that we needed to build a strong C-suite, which involved bringing in high quality leaders across domains.

This is when we convinced Maninder Gulati to venture to the “other side’’ from his role of Principal at Lightspeed, and brought him into OYO as a key leader as chief of strategy. He had to ensure that OYO continued to be ahead of the curve, by instituting trajectory-changing investments —from establishing data science at the heart of customer and asset yield-based decisions to acquiring successful businesses for building capabilities.

It has not been easy. We have, at times, failed to convince the candidate, who we thought were appropriate, to come on board, and may have even made some hires that did not work well. But with time, we have learnt and evolved as well.

(As told to Biswarup Gooptu)



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