Oyo, Previously Valued at $10 Billion, Decides to Postpone IPO Plans for the Second Time

$10 billion, IPO, Oyo, second time, shelves, valued

Oyo, the Indian budget hotel chain that was once seen as a rising star, has encountered a setback in its ambitions as it withdrew its IPO application from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for the second time. This move highlights the challenges the company is facing and raises questions about its readiness for public scrutiny.

At its peak, Oyo commanded a valuation of $10 billion, but its fortunes have dwindled since then. The startup initially filed paperwork with SEBI in 2021 for a public listing but withdrew it and refiled in 2023. However, SEBI has yet to approve either of Oyo’s applications, casting doubt on the company’s ability to meet the requirements for a successful IPO.

Oyo has been struggling to secure a new round of funding at a valuation of $3 billion or less, according to reports. Although the company denied raising capital at such a low valuation, insiders now reveal that Oyo is attempting to raise money at a valuation as low as $2 billion to $2.3 billion. This significant reduction in valuation demonstrates the challenges Oyo is facing in attracting investors amidst growing concerns about its business practices.

The startup, which is backed by major investors including SoftBank, Peak XV, Lightspeed, Airbnb, and Microsoft, was once seen as a disruptor in the budget hotel industry. It promised affordable accommodations and quickly expanded its presence across India and globally. However, in recent years, Oyo has faced criticism for its aggressive business tactics.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel industry suffered a severe blow, and Oyo was no exception. The startup was forced to lay off thousands of employees to cut costs in 2020. These layoffs sparked controversy and raised questions about the company’s treatment of its workforce.

Additionally, Oyo’s franchise business model has come under scrutiny, with some hotel partners accusing the company of imposing unfair contract terms and engaging in predatory pricing practices. These allegations have further tarnished Oyo’s reputation and made it difficult for the company to attract new hotel partners.

The challenges faced by Oyo also highlight broader issues within the Indian startup ecosystem. While India has seen a surge in tech startups in recent years, many of them have struggled to achieve profitability. Investor appetite for unprofitable startups has waned, leading to a more cautious approach to funding rounds and IPOs.

Moreover, Oyo’s experience serves as a cautionary tale for startups looking to rapidly expand without adequate infrastructure and operational capabilities. The company’s aggressive expansion strategy has proven to be unsustainable, and its focus on growth at all costs has backfired.

In order to regain investor confidence and attract new funding, Oyo needs to address the concerns surrounding its business practices and prioritize profitability over growth. This may require revisiting its franchise model and strengthening its relationships with hotel partners. Oyo should also focus on improving its operational efficiencies and reducing costs to ensure a sustainable business model.

In conclusion, Oyo’s decision to withdraw its IPO application for the second time reflects the challenges it is facing in the current market. The company’s diminishing valuation and struggles to secure funding indicate a loss of investor confidence. To regain its footing, Oyo needs to address the concerns surrounding its business practices, prioritize profitability, and focus on sustainable growth. Whether it can successfully overcome these hurdles and regain its once-prominent position remains to be seen.

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