OYO raises funds from Airbnb; plans a firm footing in overseas marketshttps://indianexpress.com/article/business/companies/oyo-raises-funds-from-airbnb-plans-a-firm-footing-in-overseas-markets-5653646/

OYO raises funds from Airbnb; plans a firm footing in overseas markets

The funding, raised by Softbank-backed OYO, comes close on the heels of OYO announcing an investment of Rs 1,400 crore in India and Nepal in 2019.

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Oyo Hotels founder Ritesh Agarwal (Bloomberg photo)

Hospitality chain OYO has raised a strategic investment from US-based online accommodation platform Airbnb of around $150-200 million — which will help the Indian firm strengthen and grow its operations in the overseas markets.

The company did not disclose the investment details. The funding, which is a part of the Series E round, raised by Softbank-backed OYO in September 2018, comes close on the heels of OYO announcing an investment of Rs 1,400 crore in India and Nepal markets in 2019 as a part of its efforts to increase infrastructure, strengthen technology and internal capability.

The strategic deal will offer OYO access to Airbnb’s presence in 81,000 cities in 191 countries. However, the partnership is not exclusive and OYO has also been working with other global platforms such as Booking.com and Expedia. Further, OYO’s deep presence in China – a focus market for Airbnb – could also be at the heart of the “strategic” investment in the Gurgaon-headquartered firm. Currently, OYO has about 3,20,000 rooms offered under its brand in China, almost double of its over 1,70,000-strong portfolio in India.

“As the sixth largest hotel chain operator in the world, we at, OYO Hotels & Homes, are committed to offering our guests and travelers around the world, great quality living spaces. We are happy to have Airbnb as our partner in this vision,” OYO Hotels & Homes Global Chief Strategy Officer Maninder Gulati said in an emailed statement.

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He added that Airbnb’s strong global footprints and access to local communities will open up new opportunities for OYO to strengthen and grow. “We’re excited by the possibilities and committed to bringing benefits to the millions of travelers who can now rely on Airbnb and OYO Hotels & Homes to find a home away from home,” he said.

Greg Greeley, president of homes at Airbnb, said emerging markets like India and China are among Airbnb’s fastest-growing markets. “Emerging markets like India and China are some of Airbnb’s fastest-growing, with our growth increasingly powered by tourism to and from these markets. In many of these markets, OYO is empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs to provide more options to more travelers…we’re excited to partner with OYO as we work to make Airbnb for everyone,” he said.

In the last few months, OYO has already raised about $1 billion (around Rs 7,280 crore) from investors like SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA) through SoftBank Vision Fund, Grab and Didi, as well as investors like Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia and Greenoaks Capital. The current investment from Airbnb is part of the same round.

According to sources, in addition to this strategic investment by Airbnb, both the US company and OYO are exploring opportunities to collaborate on a range of projects, including making OYO accommodations available on the Airbnb platform. OYO operates leased and franchised hotels, homes and living spaces. The company is present in more than 500 cities across 10 countries — India, China, Malaysia, Nepal, the UK, UAE, Indonesia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Japan.