Oyo founder Ritesh Agarwal sets up Aroa Ventures to place startup bets
Ritesh Agarwal, group chief executive of SoftBank-backed hospitality chain Oyo Hotels & Homes, has set up a new entity, Aroa Ventures, which will look to place early- to growth-stage bets, making him the latest Indian entrepreneur to create a vehicle to make personal investments.

Singapore-based Aroa Ventures plans to invest between $500,000 and $5 million, and is targeting opportunities across the consumer, technology and leisure infrastructure sectors, according to its website.

Agarwal, who founded Gurgaon-headquartered Oyo in 2013, has roped in Gaurav Gulati, who previously was the chief operating officer at co-working company Innov8, which was acquired by Oyo for an estimated Rs 200 crore last year, to head the venture.

“Beyond capital, our team of serial entrepreneurs and experienced professionals work alongside portfolio companies to accelerate their growth and to deliver better risk-adjusted returns,” the Aroa Ventures website states.

The investment firm is being sponsored by RACo Holding, which is controlled by Agarwal, according to digital publication Entrackr, which was the first to report the news, citing filings. Oyo did not respond to ET’s messages at the time of going to press.

In 2019, the Oyo Group CEO had floated RA Hospitality, a Cayman Islands-domiciled entity, through which he has undertaken a $2.2 billion debt financing round to buy back shares from existing investors, as well as infuse fresh capital into the hospitality chain.

Additionally, in October last year, ET had reported that Agarwal, along with a clutch of senior Oyo executives, had also set up Raaga Partners LLP, a venture created to ostensibly pool their individual angel investments.

Agarwal is not the first Indian entrepreneur to have created a separate investment vehicle for his personal investments. Others, such as Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, co-founders of ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal, who are among the most active angel investors in the country, have also set up Titan Capital, which has been described as a holding company for all their personal bets.

Additionally, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal had created Sabin Advisors Pvt Ltd, while Kunal Shah and Sanjeev Tandon had set up Whiteboard Capital to house their burgeoning portfolio of startup investments, following their exits from payments platform FreeCharge.

Earlier this month, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma was also reported to have set up two new entities—VSS Investco and VSS Holdings—to host and make personal investments.

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