SoftBank Leads $1 Billion Investment in Indian Hotel-Booking Startup



NEW DELHI—

SoftBank Group
Corp.


9984 -1.09%

is doubling down on one of its biggest bets in India by leading a $1 billion investment in hotel-booking startup OYO Hotels.

The Gurgaon, India-based company has received $800 million in a round led by SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund, which Chief Executive Masayoshi Son is using to back cutting-edge technologies, OYO said Tuesday. Prominent U.S. venture-capital firms Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners also contributed to the round, with a pledge of $200 million more to come.

“We plan to rapidly scale our business,” 24-year-old OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal said in a statement, focusing on continuing its expansion into China. It also operates in Malaysia, Nepal and the U.K.

The new round of funding values the company at $5 billion, including the new funds, according to a person familiar with the matter. That is up from a post-money valuation of approximately $850 million when OYO received $250 million last year in a round led by SoftBank.

Launched in 2013, OYO has used technology and standardization to help match scores of independent small hotels with new customers. It began by connecting India’s thousands of budget hotels, which typically lacked websites, to its booking platform. OYO now also offers stays in private homes and has created its own brand of hotels designed to appeal to millennial travelers. The company is not yet profitable, an OYO spokeswoman said.

OYO operates in 350 cities across five countries, with more than 125,000 rooms in India and over 87,000 rooms in China, where it launched in June. It said it would dedicate about 60% of the new funds to building out its business in China, where it is “still in the early stages of growth.”

“OYO’s unique value proposition and outstanding growth over the last few years gives us the confidence that OYO can scale,” Justin Wilson, director at SoftBank Investment Advisers, which manages SoftBank’s nearly $100 billion Vision Fund, said in a statement.

International investors and tech firms have been rushing to get a piece of India, the last great untapped internet economy, where hundreds of millions of people are getting online for the first time thanks to falling prices for mobile data and smartphones.

Walmart
Inc.

in May spent $16 billion to take over India’s biggest e-commerce startup, Flipkart Group, while

Amazon.com
Inc.

is spending $5 billion to ramp up operations in the South Asian nation.

Write to Newley Purnell at newley.purnell@wsj.com



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