Beauty startups turn professional bankers into India’s newest billionaire

Contemporary entrepreneurship is usually driven by young people: disruptors with big vision, unshakable self-confidence, and tech-savvy disruptors who won’t lose their ideas if they don’t succeed.

Therefore, senior investment banker Falguni Nayar was a little anxious as early as 2012, when she was 49 years old and quit her senior job in one of India’s most successful private banks to start her own online beauty retailer Nykaa.

“It’s okay to start a business when you are young-it doesn’t hurt if you don’t succeed,” Nayar told the Financial Times. “I have been thinking: how much do I have to give up to start this-what if it doesn’t work?”

She doesn’t have to worry: This month, Nykaa’s parent company FSN E-Commerce Ventures raised $722 million Initial public offering The company’s valuation is approximately 7.4 billion U.S. dollars. On the first day of listing on the Bombay Stock Exchange, the stock price almost doubled, reaching a valuation of nearly 13 billion U.S. dollars.

Nayar, his family has a 52% equity In Nykaa, she was pushed to the new status of India’s richest self-made female entrepreneur—proving that maturity and a thick contact book of some of the wealthiest people in India, if needed, are a valuable asset for any startup.

“My previous professional experience helped me manage this ship well,” she said.

Nayar was born in Falguni Mehta in 1963. Her impulse for action can be traced back to her childhood in Mumbai, when her father ran his own bearing factory and hardly distinguished between daughters and daughters. son.

“My father treats me as equal,” she said. “He doesn’t allow me to have the mentality of’girls can’t do this’. It was the way I grew up that made me who I am now. I don’t accept that girls need to treat life differently.”

Nykaa has 85 stores in 40 cities in India. Customers can check out and try cosmetics and beauty products before buying. © Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg

She studied at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad-the country’s top business school-where she is one of only nine women out of 150 students.Later, she married the contemporary IIM Sanjay. Sanjay continued to work for Citigroup in London and New York, and finally served as the CEO of India and South Asia operations, and then joined the private equity group. KKR in Mumbai in 2009.

Although Nayar admitted that she had entrepreneurial propensity when she just graduated, she chose a secured job, initially as a management consultant, because she tried to balance her professional ambitions with her role as a wife, and then a mother of twins. .

“Juggle is a very important word for women,” she said. “I don’t want to live a balanced life all the time. Sometimes I am more inclined to work, and sometimes I am more inclined to family responsibilities.”

After consulting for eight years, Nayar joined the financial services group Kotak Mahindra in 1993 and established overseas subsidiaries in London and New York. She followed her husband’s position. After the family returned to India in 2001, she led Kotak’s institutional equity business and participated in many early IPOs in India.

“What I see is that somehow entrepreneurs are confident in what they are doing,” she said. “They saw opportunities that others didn’t.”

By 2008, Nayar had sensed its potential opportunity-in India’s highly fragmented retail market for cosmetics and beauty products. Headband.

Nika products
Nayar hopes to consolidate Nykaa’s position as the beauty retailer of choice for the younger generation

After her children went abroad to go to university, this “zero-start” desire became stronger, although it would still take more than three years to move from Kotak.

“It was very difficult to quit a very good job, but I finally got the courage to quit in 2012,” she said, adding that she started working for this company from her father’s old office the next day.

Nykaa’s initial funding launched in October 2012 came from the family’s personal savings in banking and finance for many years, while Nayar did not obtain funding from other investors until 2014.

She is very clear that her company should be a retail company with product inventory, not just an e-commerce platform where buyers and sellers can conduct transactions, because Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart have to establish their own structure in India.

Next to Slick website And apps, Nykaa also has 85 stores in 40 cities in India, where customers can view and try cosmetics and beauty products before buying.

As India restricts foreign investment in the multi-brand retail sector, Nayar has always been cautious when raising funds.then SoftBank And other foreign investors Pour money In terms of Indian start-ups, Nayak’s first investors were wealthy Indians inside and outside India, although Henry Kravis, co-founder of private equity group KKR, also owns 1.1% of the shares.

After a sensational initial public offering, India’s newest billionaire is not satisfied with the status quo plan. Nayar and her 31-year-old twins, Anchit and Adwaita, both hold high-level positions at the company, and they are working hard to consolidate their position as the beauty retailer of choice for the younger generation.

“Investors trust us and expect us to grow at a very fast rate,” Nayar said.

She also hopes the success of Nykaa, the name comes from the Sanskrit word, which means actress or heroine, and can encourage other women.

Regarding all her own doubts, she admitted that she always moved forward because of lack of fear.

“I’m an adventurer deep in my heart, and I don’t see the risk,” she said. “I will be the weakest person to swim in my family and the first person to jump into the water.”

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