OYO Rooms

Branded budget hotel rooms service OYO Rooms has raised $100 million in a funding round led by SoftBank group and participation from existing investors Greenoaks Capital, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed India. OYO will use the latest round of funding to implement new customer experience initiatives, build technology products, and extend its network.

A VCCircle report added that OYO will be expanding its network to 50,000 rooms and 100 cities in India by the ed of the year. Currently, the company is present in more than 70 cities with more than 12,000 available rooms.

OYO Rooms operated as Oravel.com and pivoted its business from an Air BnB clone following operational issues. Founded in 2012, Oravel allowed users to search for short stay rooms and apartments in India. Users could list their serviced apartments, boutique properties and villas and travelers can book these properties from the site. Later the company shifted focusing on its budget hotel chain OYO Rooms. The company had temporarily scaled down operations after two senior executives on the tech side had left the company.

In March 2015, the company raised $20 million in a funding round led by Greenoaks Capital and other existing investors.

In March 2014, Oravel had raised funding from DSG Consumer Partners, apart from Lightspeed Venture Partners. It was rumoured that Lightspeed Ventures had invested Rs 4 crore in the company at that time.  Oravel had raised its seed funding from angel investors which included Shravan Shroff, founder of Fame Cinemas, and Ravi Kiran, former CEO – South East & South Asia – Starcom MediaVest Group and angels Anand Ladsariya, managing director of Everest Flavours, Amit Patni, co-founder and chairman of Nirvana Venture Advisors and Bharat Banka, CEO of Aditya Birla Private Equity invested in the firm.

Copyright issues
In April, The Delhi High Court issued a stay order against online hostel aggregation platform Zostel, based on an alleged copyright material theft complaint filed by OYO Rooms.  OYO Rooms alleged that Zostel’s recently launched hyperlocal hotel rooms booking platform Zo Rooms is based on data copied from them. Apparently, OYO Rooms produced emails and CCTV footage to claim that some of its employees stole proprietary software from the company, and left to join Zostel.

Interestingly, In March, Stayzilla and OYO Rooms had a nice Twitter slugfest on trademark infringement. OYO Rooms had used Stayzilla’s trademark and brand name for Google Adwords copy, which was a trademark violation as well as against Google’s advertising policy. However, the companies sorted out the issues on Twitter, without ever crossing the line.

Competition

– Chennai-based Insara Technologies, which operates hotel booking site Stayzilla, raised $20 million in a Series B round of funding led by Nexus Ventures and with participation from existing investor Matrix Partners India.

– In July, Zo Rooms raised an undisclosed amount in a Series A round of funding from Tiger Global and Orios Venture Partners.

– Other than this, more established online travel agents such as MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip and Yatra etc., have hotel booking services.

– There’s also reverse bidding sites such as Findmystay and 90bids.com where travelers quote prices they are willing to pay and the website offers them hotels with closest fares.