Falguni Nayar took the leap into entrepreneurship in 2012, when she was fifty years old and had worked as an investment banker for almost twenty years. She has listed her startup at a valuation higher than some of India’s largest legacy enterprises nearly a decade later.

Nykaa was founded wholly by Falguni Nayar and her husband Sanjay Nayar, the chairman of India’s largest private equity firm, KKR & Co. As she stated in a 2017 interview with The Economic Times, the focus was on establishing an inventory-driven firm. “I didn’t want to raise money, so the company ran on family cash for two years.” Nayar had stated at the time, “I wanted to make the metrics happen.” “By the time I went to investors, we had a lot of momentum.” 

Falguni Nayar, the CEO of Nykaa, is the richest self-made woman in India, with a net worth of over $7.7 billio

Nykaa provides beauty, wellness, and fashion products online, on mobile apps, and in 76 physical locations. It was estimated at $85 billion in 2020, making it India’s first unicorn startup led by a woman.

In an interview following the trading debut, Falguni Nayar observed, “Women need to allow the spotlight of their lives to be on themselves.” “I hope that more women, like myself, dare to dream big.”

After only five rounds of investment, the company became a unicorn in March 2020, with only three of those rounds involving institutional investors. Nykaa is also profitable, which is unusual for an Indian firm. Nykaa is now one of India’s few profitable retailers. It made a net profit of Rs 61.96 crore in the fiscal year ended March 31, up from a deficit of Rs 16.34 crore the previous year. In FY21, revenue increased by 38% year on year to Rs 2,453 crore.

“India is going to be a huge retail market,” Nayar said. “Indians will aspire for more, their spending power will grow and they’ll increasingly spend on lifestyle brands and services. Nykaa is in a good place.

Nykaa floated at about 80% premium on Wednesday and concluded the day at Rs 2,206.70, 96.15 percent more than its issue price—equivalent to a market capitalization of Rs 1,04,360.85 crore on day one. The net worth of the Nayar family is more than half of that.

“At the age of 50, I established Nykaa with no prior experience.” At the opening bell, Nayar said, “I hope the Nykaa journey can inspire each of you to be the Nykaa (heroine) of your lives.”

 Story of Falguni Nayar 

Falguni Nayar (born February 19, 1963) is an Indian billionaire and the founder and CEO of Nykaa, a cosmetics and lifestyle retail brand. Nayar is one of just two self-made female billionaires in India. After recent listings, Nayar is currently the richest female Indian billionaire, with an estimated net worth of $6.5 billion and a place among India’s top 20 richest persons.

Nayar was born and nurtured in Mumbai, Maharashtra, in a Gujarati family. She holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and economics from Sydenham College and a master’s degree in management from the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.

Her father was a businessman who, with the help of her mother, established a modest bearings company. Sanjay Nayar, whom she met at business school, she married in 1987.

In 1985, Nayar took a job for A F Ferguson & Co., a management consulting firm.                   

Nayar joined the Kotak Mahindra Group in 1993 and worked there for 19 years. She joined the company as a managing director in 2005 and left in 2012.

Falguni, on the other hand, had a “self-imposed goal” of trying her hand at entrepreneurship by the age of 50. As a result of Falguni’s departure from Kotak, Nykaa was born in 2012. Her children (twins Anchit and Adwaita) had departed to study in the United States at the time, and she had the time she needed to concentrate on her entrepreneurship endeavour.

She created Nykaa with $2 million of her own money in April 2012, when she was 50 years old. As of 2021, Nykaa was valued at $2.3 billion, raising Nayar’s fortune to $1.1 billion. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is one of two self-made female Indian billionaires, the other being Nayar. On November 10, 2021, Nykaa was valued at $13 billion, making Nayar India’s richest self-made woman. She is currently among India’s top 20 wealthiest persons.