Falguni Nayar: The billionaire founder of Nykaa who dared to dream at 50

Founded in 2012, Nykaa is among the few profitable start-ups in India

Mumbai: An IPO banker for close to two decades, Falguni Nayar the billionaire founder of beauty startup Nykaa had led many companies to the stock market. As someone who always nurtured the ambition of becoming an entrepreneur, steering her own company to stellar IPO was the most fulfilling experience.

Nayar is today the richest self-made woman billionaire in India. She is among the country's 20 richest people. But that’s not all. What makes the stock market debut of her business unique is the fact that it is the only profitable unicorn going public and an exceptional new-age firm where its promoter group still owns more than half the company. The Sanjay Nayar Family Trust which includes Nayar, her husband and their two twin children holds more than 53 per cent in FSN E-Commerce Ventures, Nykaa’s parent company.

FSN E-Commerce Ventures launched its IPO on 28 October to raise as much as Rs 5,352 crore by offering shares in a price band of Rs 1,085-1,125 apiece. The share price nearly doubled over the IPO range on the listing, ascribing India's biggest cosmetics etailer a market cap of over Rs one lakh crore and its founder Falguni Nayar a net worth of nearly $7.5 billion. On Wednesday, Nykaa was listed at nearly 80 per cent premium and ended the day 96.15 per cent higher than its issue price at Rs 2,206.70—that translates to a market capitalisation of Rs 1,04,360.85 crore on day one, according to the Economic Times.

An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and former managing director of Kotak Mahindra Capital Company, Falguni Nayar founded Nykaa in April of 2012 when she was nearing 50. With her family and professional responsibilities balanced, and having gained two decades of experience guiding businesses to success, she felt it was the perfect time to take the entrepreneurial plunge. Within less than a decade her brainchild Nykaa became one of the most successful e-tailers in the country and among the few profitable start-ups in India. It entered the unicorn club in March 2020.

It has been a journey of dreams and determination, but unlike many others in the Indian start-up ecosystem it was guided by a larger vision and practical business outcomes. In an interview with Nayar revealed that the most valuable learning she imbibed from Uday Kotak was the importance of corporate governance and a financially sustainable approach to business. In a discount and fancy-metrics-led e-commerce market, she decided to run Nykaa with a focus on quality, product benefits, and variety rather than on heavy discounting. Her vision for the company is to see it evolve as a ‘house of brands,’ national and international.

Since its launch, Nykaa expanded its product categories by introducing online platforms Nykaa Fashion and Nykaa Man. Delivering a comprehensive Omnichannel e-commerce experience, it offers 4,078 brands and over 3.1 million product SKUs through its 80-odd brick-and-mortar stores, website, and mobile applications. Nykaa has launched its private labels Nykaa Cosmetics, Nykaa Naturals and K-Beauty (with Indian actor Katrina Kaif as celebrity brand endorser). The company entered luxury offerings in 2016. Recently, it acquired Dot & Key Skin Care brand to address the gaps in the market. Nykaa also launched a global store thus ensuring the availability of the largest variety of luxury brands on its platform.

The beauty e-commerce business is run by Nayar’s son Anchit - a Columbia University Graduate. Her daughter Adwaita has an MBA from Harvard Business School. She operates the fashion vertical. She is married to KKR India CEO Sanjay Nayar.

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