Nykaa founder Falguni Nayar on Wednesday became India’s seventh woman billionaire and the wealthiest self-made billionaire in an ongoing initial public offering (IPO) boom which saw the e-commerce giant making a blockbuster debut on Dalal Street, its parent company FSN floating on the Mumbai stock exchange. Moments after the markets opened on Wednesday, Nykaa shares were being listed at ₹2,018 with around 80 per cent premium. Started in 2012, Nykaa was a late entrant into the Indian e-commerce space.
According to the Bloomberg news agency, the market cap of the beauty and fashion retailer hit an overall valuation of 1 trillion rupees ($13.5 billion) in the first five minutes of trade. Within an hour and a half, Nykaa’s market cap had already matched industry giants such as Britannia, Godrej, and IndiGo.
Falguni Nayar is not like any other CEO of a company. She is not a social media person and took the entrepreneurial plunge in 2012, when she was nearly 50. In fact, ever since Nykaa was founded, she has tweeted just once in nine years.
“I think being active on social media requires a huge amount of time and effort. And I am someone who spends my time a little differently. Numbers really motivate me and if I am sitting in front of a spreadsheet I spend a lot of time on it. I believe in social media, it is just that I can’t keep up with it,” Falguni Nayar said.
Falguni Nayar made headlines on Wednesday after the share price of her business Nykaa almost doubled upon listing. Nayar’s stake is now worth over $6.5 billion, making her one of the richest female entrepreneurs in India.
Falguni Nayar, born and raised in a Gujarati family, is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Her father ran a small bearings company. Before starting Nykaa, Nayar worked with Kotak Mahindra Capital, where she was the managing director and head of its institutional equities business.
In 2012, Nykaa started with just 60 daily orders. “We’d rather sell the right colour of lipstick at full price, than the wrong shade at half off, which would make the buyer unhappy within minutes of wearing it,” Nayar told Bloomberg.
India’s wealthiest self-made woman billionaire has proved that gender, age, background, and education are no bar to become an entrepreneur.
Speaking of starting her journey at 50, Nayar told, “I feel women put constraints in their minds which are not so necessary. Today, many women are managing their businesses cum young children. I don’t think there is one playbook. I did it when I did it, and I am glad that I at least tried it when I tried it.”
Being a person who doesn’t wear her emotions on her sleeve, the steller debut in the stock market saw Nayar “feel an emotion that was quite strong”.
“Any entrepreneurship needs a lot of passion, hard work, conviction, and time. When I started, if I thought I would be here in three years or five years, it wouldn’t happen. It needs long innings. Somehow, I was very clear that I would need 10 years plus, and that is why I started before I turned 50,” she told.
Apart from Nayar, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (Biocon) and Divya Divya Gokulnath (Byju’s) are the only other self-made billionaire.
Nayar met her husband Sanjay Nayar at business school. He is now the CEO of global investment firm KKR India, and specialises in IPOs.
Anchit, her son who graduated from Columbia University in the US, runs the beauty e-commerce business, while daughter Adwaita, with an MBA from Harvard Business School, operates the fashion vertical.