LEADING LADY
India Today|December 13, 2021
Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO of Nykaa, is redefining the language of beauty in India. After a bumper IPO, India’s first woman-led unicorn to have gone public is preparing to expand across categories. What the queen of beauty needs to watch out for as she takes the next big step
SHWWETA PUNJ

Nykaa in Numbers

APRIL 2012

Birth of Nykaa

Seed Funding

Rs 42 lakh Lead investors: Falguni Nayar, Sanjay Nayar, Omprakash Nayar and Rashmi Mehta

JULY 2014

Series A Funding

Rs 20 cr Lead investors: Angel investors Indra Banga and Harindarpal Singh Banga

JULY 2015

Series B funding

Rs 59.6 cr Lead investor: TVS Capital (institutional investor)

MARCH 2019

Series E

Rs 100 cr Lead Investor: TPG Growth

MARCH 2020

Series F

Rs 166.6 cr Lead Investor: Steadview Capital

Source: Traxcn

4,078 No. of national and international brands (as of Aug. 31)

20 No. of warehouses

80 No. of physical stores in 40 cities

17.1 mn Orders placed on the platform for beauty and personal care products in FY21

3,055 Influencers engaged as of Aug. 31

Source: Nykaa Red Herring Prospectus

Her office in Okhla, New Delhi, like the lady herself, is a matter of fact. No grand art or statement furniture, just a basic, no-frills, functional space. When its owner, Falguni Nayar, walks in, on a nippy November morning, she is in a breezy floral sari, by no particular famous designer, wearing sensible block heels, toting a purse, and a jute bag with her lunch.

It has only been days since Nykaa’s stunning IPO (launched on October 28, and oversubscribed 80 times), and the 58-year-old Nayar has been adjudged India’s richest self-made woman billionaire (with her company valued at $14 billion, or Rs 1.05 lakh crore, as of November 10, more than the likes of Coal India, Hindalco, and Godrej) in the Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, wresting the crown from Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. She wears the laurel lightly, because, for her, this is not the end of a journey but just its beginning.

Nayar’s story, thanks to FSN E-Commerce Venture’s (Nykaa’s parent company) sensational debut on the bourses, is by now a familiar one, recounted endlessly in the media. Born in a Gujarati family settled in Mumbai—her father ran a bearings company with her mother’s help—business ran in her blood, and trade and investment talk was part of normal family conversation. Always a bright student, her education and career took an expected trajectory—education at the Sydenham College of Commerce & Economics in Mumbai, graduation from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, where she was part of the Class of 85, which also included Harsha Bhogle. She began her career at A.F. Ferguson and was managing director at Kotak Mahindra Capital when she left in 2012.

Nayar was nearing a half-century when she decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge. “As women,” she says, “we tend to develop a mental block against entrepreneurship thinking a professional career helps a mother of young children balance life better. Entrepreneurship is a huge leap and commitment in terms of time. I knew I had to do it before I turned 50, as it would take me another eight to 10 years to reach scale.”

NYKAA, THE BEGINNING

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