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Exclusive: Oyo’s Ritesh Agarwal floats Aroa Ventures to back growth-stage startups

Founder of SoftBank-backed global hotel brand Oyo, Ritesh Agarwal has floated a new entity – Aroa Ventures – in Singapore to make his investment in early-stage startups. Aroa Ventures is sponsored by RACo Holding Company and Agarwal controls 100% stake in the investment firm.

Aroa Ventures has been looking to place bets across growth-stage businesses in the consumer, technology, and leisure infrastructure sectors. According to its website, it prefers companies with proven unit economics and high potential to scale.

“We are partial to businesses that have the ability to create disproportionate value through adjacencies. We invest between USD $500K and $5 million,” as per information provided by Aroa Ventures on its website. Beyond capital, the firm helps portfolio companies accelerate their growth and deliver better risk-adjusted returns. 

According to filings in Singapore, the company was registered last year with Agarwal and Thomas Hufnagel as the two shareholders in the company. Later in November last year, Agarwal took over complete ownership of RA Holdings Pte, and Hufnagel who is a partner at the law firm who handled the registration transferred his holdings to the former. 

Former Innov8’s chief operating officer (COO) Gaurav Gulati heads Aroa Ventures. It’s worth noting that Innov8 was acquired by Oyo in 2019 for about Rs 200 crore cash deal. He was also one of the co-founders of Purist that was acquired by Cure.Fit.

Unlike founders of other large-scale companies, Agarwal hasn’t been in the news for making personal investments. Entrackr couldn’t verify independently whether he invested in any startup in an individual capacity or not.

With the incorporation of Aroa Ventures, Agarwal has become the third SoftBank-backed entrepreneur to own a personal investment vehicle. Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal along with Vijay Shekhar Sharma have their investment firms that place bets on their behalf.

While Bahl and Bansal launched Titan Capital that made about four dozen bets, Sharma and his wife jointly floated two firms: VSS Investco and VSS Holdings to invest in early-stage startups. Sharma has been a prolific angel investor for the past few years.

Entrackr had exclusively reported about Sharma’s two new incorporated entities.

Aroa Ventures is the third venture registered by Agarwal. Previously, he had registered RA Hospitality Holdings (Cayman) that used to buy $1.5 billion worth stake in Oyo from its early backers – Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Ventures. RACo Holding Company is another company by Agarwal that controls Aroa Ventures completely.

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