19-year-old Indian wins Theil Fellowship

New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) Ritesh Agarwal, who founded Oravel.com, a startup that provides an alternative to hotel stays in India, has bagged the $100,000 Thiel Fellowship for 2013.

Agarwal, 19, born in Odisha, is the only Indian who has made it to the Thiel list of “20 under 20 years of age globally”.

“Being part of Thiel Fellowship is a humbling experience. I made it because of the sheer process and quality of execution achieved at Oravel.com,” says Agarwal, who always wanted to solve large problems using cutting edge new-age technologies.

“Thiel Fellowship mentors like Elon Musk and Sean Parker are an inspiration to the world. Just getting the opportunity to be mentored by them is phenomenal,” added Agarwal.

As a Thiel Fellow, Ritesh will use technology to bring affordable and standardised accommodation to emerging economies across the world, starting in one country at a time, according to a Thiel press release.

Thiel awards are a no-strings-attached grant of $100,000 to skip college and focus on work, research and self-education.

Peter Thiel is a German-born American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and hedge fund manager who co-founded PayPal and served as its CEO.

He ranked 293rd on the Forbes 400 in 2011, with a net worth of $1.5 billion as of March 2012.

“When we created the fellowship more than two years ago, our intention was to help a small number of creative people learn and accomplish more than they might have otherwise,” said Thiel.

Agarwal is one of the youngest entrepreneurs from India to raise angel investments from India’s first angel backed accelerator VentureNursery in 2012.

VentureNursery was established in March 2012 by Shravan Shroff, founder and former MD, Fame Cinemas and Ravi Kiran, former CEO-South East & South Asia, Starcom MediaVest Group and co-founder and managing partner, Friends of Ambition.

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