In 2012, investment banker-turned-entrepreneur Falguni Nayar founded Nykaa — a Mumbai-based fashion and beauty online retail venture. Over nine years and with more than 2,400 brands, including domestic, international, luxury and premium, Nykaa has become one of the most prominent names in India’s start-up ecosystem.
The e-commerce beauty retailer derives its name from the Sanskrit word nayaka (meaning actress) and aims to celebrate the “star in each woman”. Nykaa says it understands its customers’ needs and preferences, with which it has gone on to built some 70+ brick-and-mortar stores across the country. Additionally, its online community of beauty aficionados offers a comprehensive collection of trending looks, expert advice, and more.
Nykaa also manufactures products under two business verticals — Nykaa and Nykaa Fashion and allows its users to sell their products online.
Nykaa: The unicorn which leapt the rainbow
A privately-held startup becomes a unicorn when it reaches a valuation of USD 1 billion (INR 100 crore). Nykaa, whose parent entity is FSN E-Commerce Ventures, entered the unicorn club in April 2020 after an INR 100 crore funding from Steadview Capital.
Some of its popular investors also include actresses Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif, who attended the listing ceremony along with Nayar and her daughter Adwaita.
Nykaa is now the country’s first woman-led unicorn.
The grand debut at the stock exchange
The three-day initial public offering (IPO) was launched on 28 October 2021. As per Forbes, Nykaa will be “deploying the IPO proceeds towards new stores, new warehouses and for enhancing brand visibility.”
The unicorn made a debut at the stock exchange on 10 November 2021, and its market capitalisation crossed INR 1 lakh crore in early deals.
According to an Economic Times report, “The Nykaa shares listed with a huge premium of over 79 percent against the issue price of Rs 1,125 on Wednesday. The stock debuted at Rs 2,001, reflecting a jump of 77.86 percent on the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange). It then zoomed 89.24 percent to Rs 2,129. On NSE (National Stock Exchange), it listed at Rs 2,018, a premium of 79.37 percent.”
The company’s shares are listed on a high, making her India’s wealthiest self-made female billionaire and the second self-made female billionaire in the country after Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
In the latter half of the day, the closing price of Nykaa’s shares was recorded at Rs 2,205.80 and Rs 2206.70 on NSE and BSE, respectively.
Nayar’s early years as an investment banker
Nayar began a career in consulting with A.F. Ferguson & Co, after graduating from the prestigious IIM Ahmedabad. She went on to work with Kotak Mahindra Bank where she would spend 18 years of her professional life.
During her run in the company, she managed various businesses and was also the managing director of Kotak Mahindra Investment Bank. The former investment banker is a board member of Aviva insurance and Dabur India. She is also an independent member on the Tata Motors Board.
The inception of Nykaa, and how Nayar became India’s second wealthiest woman
After spending over 20 years in finance, she left her job as an investment banker and entered the startup industry with her online beauty and personal care retail venture.
She founded Nykaa with an investment of USD 2 million. Her goal was to make quality cosmetics easily available to Indian consumers.
“I started Nykaa at the age of 50 with no experience. I hope the Nykaa journey can inspire each of you to be the Nykaa of your lives,” Nayar said before her company’s listing at the NSE.
The 58-year-old founder, managing director and CEO of Nykaa, owns more than half of the beauty e-commerce business along with her husband Sanjay Nayar — India CEO of US private equity giant KKR — and their twin children: Anchit and Adwaita.
Falguni Nayar is now the second wealthiest woman in India, the first being Savitri Jindal — the chairperson emeritus of O.P. Jindal Group.
Hero and Featured image: Courtesy Punit Paranjpe/AFP