Beauty start-up turns career banker into India’s newest billionaire

Up to date entrepreneurship is ordinarily pushed by the younger: tech-savvy disrupters with grand visions, unshakeable self-belief and less to drop if their strategies do not pan out.

So veteran investment decision banker Falguni Nayar was to some degree nervous again in 2012, when, at age 49, she resigned from a senior position at just one of India’s most effective non-public banks to get started her very own on-line splendor retailer Nykaa.

“Entrepreneurship at a young age is Ok — there is no downside if it doesn’t thrive,” Nayar advised the Monetary Periods. “I was constantly contemplating: how much I am giving up to get started this — what if it does not get the job done?”

She will need not have fearful: this month, Nykaa’s corporate mother or father, FSN E-Commerce Ventures, lifted $722m in an initial community offering valuing the business at about $7.4bn. On its first working day of trading on the Bombay Inventory Exchange, the share price almost doubled, sending the valuation to practically $13bn.

Nayar, whose family collectively owns a 52 per cent stake in Nykaa, was propelled to a new status as India’s wealthiest self-built female entrepreneur — proof, if it had been needed, that maturity, and a thick call reserve of some of India’s wealthiest people today, are precious property to any start out-up enterprise.

“The knowledge I had in my prior job helped me steward the ship very well,” she mentioned.

Born Falguni Mehta in 1963, Nayar’s impulse towards action goes again to her Mumbai childhood, when her father ran his personal bearings manufacturing facility, and created several distinctions amongst his daughter and his son.

“My father taken care of me as an equivalent,” she claimed. “He did not permit me to have a mentality that ‘girls simply cannot do this’. It was the way I was raised that created me who I am. I do not acknowledge that ladies require to deal with their lives otherwise.”

Branded cosmetics at a Nykaa store in New Delhi
Nykaa has 85 suppliers in 40 Indian metropolitan areas, the place clients can see and attempt beauty and beauty goods ahead of they purchase © Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

She attended the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad — the country’s prime company school — where by she was just one of just 9 females in a course of 150 pupils. She later on married an IIM modern, Sanjay, who went on to do the job for Citigroup in London, New York and ultimately as its chief govt for India and South Asia functions, before joining non-public equity group KKR in Mumbai in 2009.

However Nayar admits to entrepreneurial inclinations even as a youthful graduate, she opted for the safety of a work, at first as a management consultant, as she sought to equilibrium her career ambitions with her purpose as a wife, and then as the mother of twins.

“Juggle is a incredibly critical term for women of all ages,” she stated. “I never try out to have a balanced lifetime all the time. There are moments when I lean in far more in the direction of perform, and there are periods when I will lean more in direction of loved ones tasks.”

Soon after eight several years in consulting, Nayar joined monetary services team Kotak Mahindra in 1993, location up its overseas subsidiaries in London and then New York as she adopted her husband’s postings. On the family’s return to India in 2001, she led Kotak’s institutional equities businesses, involved in a lot of of India’s early IPOs.

“What I observed was that by some means business people had whole conviction in what they have been executing,” she explained. “They observed an option that no one particular else saw.”

By 2008, Nayar had sensed her personal potential opportunity — in India’s hugely fragmented cosmetics and attractiveness merchandise retail market, which was dominated by tiny mom-and-pop stores, at times named “variety stores’”, that also offered things these types of as protection pins and hair bands.

Nykaa products
Nayar desires to consolidate Nykaa’s placement as the elegance retailer of option to youthful generations

After her young children left for college overseas, that craving to “start a thing from scratch” grew much better, nevertheless it nevertheless took additional than three many years to make a transfer from Kotak.

“It’s quite hard to stop a very very good career, but I last but not least managed to get the bravery and quit in 2012,” she mentioned, incorporating that she commenced operating on the company, from her father’s outdated office, the extremely up coming working day.

First funding for Nykaa, which was introduced in Oct 2012, arrived from the family’s individual discounts from many years in banking and finance, and Nayar did not take revenue from other buyers right until 2014.

She was clear that her organization must be a retail organization with a stock of merchandise, not just an ecommerce system wherever purchasers and sellers can transact, as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart have experienced to structure them selves in India.

Beside a slick internet site and app, Nykaa also has 85 retailers in 40 Indian cities, the place shoppers can see and test beauty and beauty merchandise before they acquire.

Simply because India restricts foreign expenditure in multi-manufacturer retail, Nayar has often had to be thorough in fundraising. At a time when SoftBank and other overseas buyers were pouring cash into Indian start off-ups, Nayak’s initially traders ended up rich Indians both of those within India and overseas, while Henry Kravis, the co-founder of private equity group KKR, also owns 1.1 for each cent.

Just after the blockbuster IPO, India’s newest billionaire has no ideas to relaxation on her laurels. Nayar and her twins, Anchit and Adwaita, who are 31 and the two have major roles at the enterprise, are performing to consolidate its position as the attractiveness retailer of preference to more youthful generations.

“The traders have put their have confidence in in us and are expecting us to mature at a extremely rapidly tempo,” Nayar said.

She also hopes the success of Nykaa, a identify derived from a Sanskrit term that indicates actress or heroine, will really encourage other women.

For all her own doubts, she admits she was normally propelled ahead by her absence of concern.

“I’m an experience seeker at coronary heart and I do not see the danger,” she stated. “I’ll be the weakest swimmer in my household and the first to bounce in the water.”