The way Oyo’s expanding, it might soon be possible to do a round-the-world trip staying only at Oyo properties.
Oyo has announced that it’s expanding into Japan next month. Oyo will bring its housing rental segment Oyo Living to Japan, which has been rebranded to Oyo Life, and target students and young professionals in the country. More interestingly, Oyo has entered into a Joint Venture with Yahoo Japan and formed a new entity, Oyo Technology and Hospitality Company, Japan, to run its business.
“This new entity will be focused on creating unique living experiences for Japanese citizens, students, and young professionals, looking for good quality affordable accommodations, starting with our fully managed homes brand – Oyo Life,” Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwal said in a statement. Kentaro Kawabe, CEO of Yahoo Japan, said through this joint venture they will deliver good quality fully managed homes at affordable prices. “With our local know-how, online distribution network and marketing support, Oyo Life will soon emerge as the most preferred abode for the Japanese citizens and visitors in the country,” he said. Oyo Life will provide apartments, homes, and shared spaces with amenities like furniture, Wi-Fi connectivity, TV, electronic household appliances, regular housekeeping, CCTV surveillance, and security.
Like with other countries that Oyo has expanded into, Oyo has appointed a local to head its Japanese operations — Japanese entrepreneur Hiro Katsuse has been appointed the CEO of its Japanese arm. Apart from Japan, Oyo now has operations in Nepal, Philippines, Malaysia, the US, the UK and even Saudi Arabia. Its biggest international market, though, is China, where it now claims it has more rooms than even in India.
It’s breakneck expansion for a startup that was founded in India only in 2011 — not only has Oyo cornered the Indian market, it’s now looking to expand overseas. Some might say it’s expanding too much too quickly, but it sure seems to have big names on its side. Japan-based Softbank is an investor — which might’ve contributed to its recent Japanese expansion — and some star executives have joined the company too. Former Indigo President Aditya Ghosh is now its India and South East Asia CEO, and several international entrepreneurs and executives are now heading its overseas operations. More importantly, for now Oyo seems to have the money to fund its ambitious plans as well — last year, it had raised nearly $1 billion in a single round.
It remains to be seen if Oyo is spreading itself too thin — it could be hard for a young startup to simultaneously focus on several diverse geographies and markets — but Oyo seems to be betting big. There will also be the challenge of money — Oyo’s India’s operations aren’t profitable yet, and its growth could be dependent on its future fundraising efforts . But regardless of how its many bets play out, one thing is certain — Oyo’s already become one of India’s truly international startups.