Success never comes easy and risk-takers are the ones that take the leap of faith to create something gigantic and beautiful. Such is the story of Falguni Nayar, beauty brand Nykaa’s founder who became India’s wealthiest self-made female billionaire amid the ongoing initial public offering (IPO) of her startup, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The e-commerce behemoth made a blockbuster debut on Dalal Street, as its parent company FSN went public on the Mumbai stock exchange. Nykaa shares were listed at 2,018 with an 80 per cent premium shortly after the markets opened on Wednesday (10 Nov). According to Bloomberg, the beauty and fashion retailer’s market capitalization reached 1 trillion rupees ($13.5 billion) in the first five minutes of trading. Nykaa’s market cap had already surpassed industry titans Britannia, Godrej, and IndiGo within an hour and a half.
Nayar, who owns approximately half of Nykaa, is now worth about $6.5 billion after the company’s stock soared as high as 89 per cent in early trade on Wednesday. Nykaa’s parent company, FSN E-Commerce Ventures, is India’s first woman-led unicorn to list on the stock exchange.
— Business Insider India🇮🇳 (@BiIndia) November 10, 2021
Her Journey from Investment Banker to a Successful Entrepreneur
Falguni began her career in consulting with A.F. Ferguson & Co. after graduating from IIM Ahmedabad. She spent the next 18 years with Kotak Mahindra Bank, where she was the Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Investment Bank and a director at Kotak Securities, the bank’s institutional equities section. Falguni had the strength and determination to leave her career and run for her dreams and happiness.
Falguni Nayar, 49, founded Nykaa, which is now one of India’s largest e-commerce websites, in 2012, challenging two prejudices that are commonly used to define women at work: age and gender. Falguni has built a beauty and lifestyle retail empire Nykaa, which has emerged as India’s leading beauty retailer with a portfolio of 1500+ brands, including its private label, available online and across 68 stores in India, in less than ten years of its journey. Nykaa is slated to become India’s first and only woman-led unicorn to go public, with a team of over 1600.
Two family trusts and seven additional promoter entities own Nayar’s company shares. Among the promoters are her Ivy League-educated daughter and son, who oversee different Nykaa units.
Triumph of Nykaa and Future Plans
Since then, the company has expanded to become the country’s largest beauty retailer, bolstering online sales with demo videos from attractive Bollywood actresses like Katrina Kaif and celebrities and more than 70 physical locations. Nykaa, which is derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘heroine‘, sells exfoliating treatments, bridal make-up basics, and hundreds of hues of lipstick, foundation, and nail colour to fit Indian complexion tones, skin types, and weather conditions.
According to its filing, sales increased by 35% to $330 million in the fiscal year ending in March. Nykaa is a profitable company, which is unusual among internet startups making their public debut. The company plans to invest the net profits from the offering in FSN Brands and Nykaa Fashion, according to reports. According to several sources, it also plans to open new retail locations at a cost of Rs 42 crore. However, Nayar and his family will continue to own a stake in the parent firm.
Defying two stereotypes that are often characterised with women at the workplace – age and gender, 58-year-old Nayar is now the wealthiest self-made billionaire in India, joining only six other Indian women billionaires. This is a story to inspire and empower women to create their paths and trust their capabilities to pursue their dreams.