Nykaa's Falguni Nayar – Face Behind India's First Woman-Led Unicorn To Go Public

In under 10 years of its journey, Nykaa is slated to become India's first and only woman-led unicorn to go public.

2 min read

Video Editor: Sandeep Suman, Mohd Irshad

(This was first published on 27 October 2021. It has been republished from The Quint's archives after Nykaa founder Falguni Nayar became India's wealthiest self-made female billionaire after her unicorn went public.)

In 2012, a 49-year-old Falguni Nayar started Nykaa – now one of India's leading e-commerce websites – defying two stereotypes that are often used to define women at workplace – age and gender.

In under 10 years of its journey, Nykaa is slated to become India's first and only woman-led unicorn to go public. On Thursday, 28 October, Nayar, who has helped multiple companies go public, will be seeking to raise funds for her own through an IPO (initial public offering).

With price band of initial share fixed at ₹1,085-1,125 per share, Nykaa is seeking to raise $700 million through the IPO, which will value the company at over $7 billion.


From Investment Banker to Entrepreneur

The Mumbai-born Nayar graduated from the Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad and went on to become an investment banker. In 2012, when she was the Managing Director of Kotak Investment Banking, she quit the job to pursue her dream of starting her own venture.

While her interactions with many 'die-hard' founders inspired her, it was also her motto to tell women to live without guilt that pushed her to start her own venture.

"You are important in your story, and should feel no guilt at being the centre stage."
Falguni Nayar's Motto

She found the beauty industry to be an untapped market and set to explore it.

Today, Nykaa is home to thousands of make-up and apparel brands across the world.


Under Fire for Toxic Work Culture

But Nykaa's success story also has some unsavourty bits. In June 2020, anonymous accounts of current and former employees called out the beauty e-commerce company for harassment.

Several accounts of unsympathetic and toxic work culture made headlines.

The Nayar-led company has also been criticised multiple times by beauty and fashion watchers for 'duping' and 'copying' of international brands.

FSN E-Commerce Ventures Ltd, the parent company of Nykaa, will open for subscription on 28 October and close on 1 November.

The company will reportedly use net proceeds from the issue to invest in FSN Brands and Nykaa Fashion. It also aims to set up new retail stores at the cost of Rs 42 crore, various reports stated.

Nayar and family will, however, continue to hold stake in the parent company, which is one of India's few profitable unicorns unlike many other start-ups.

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Topics:  Nykaa 

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