Falguni Nayar, self-made woman billionaire, is guest at E-Adda today

In the IPO frenzy of 2021, tech and consumer internet companies were the top draw, with FSN E-commerce, which operates beauty and personal care platform Nykaa, capturing investor sentiment and blitzing the market charts.

In the process, Nykaa’s Founder and CEO Falguni Nayar has not only broken several barriers but proved that exception can be the only rule in her journey to become India’s wealthiest self-made woman billionaire. With her stellar IPO debut with Nykaa, she has ensured that the spotlight stays on the niche e-commerce company.

Nayar will be the guest at E-Adda on Thursday, when she will be in conversation with Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and Anil Sasi, National Business Editor, The Indian Express. Nayar will be accompanied by her son Anchit, who looks after the beauty e-commerce business, and daughter Adwaita, who heads the fashion vertical.

The Express E-Adda is a series of informal interactions organised by The Indian Express Group and features those at the centre of change.

A successful investment banker who spent 18 years at Kotak Mahindra Bank, where she led several verticals, Nayar wanted to be an entrepreneur. Ten years ago, she ventured into the beauty business, giving customers easy online access to high-end beauty items. Today, at 59, she has steered Nykaa to being India’s leading beauty retailer, playing a critical role in developing the market and creating new verticals in fashion and lifestyle.

Apart from the profitability factor that set Nykaa apart from other tech IPOs in India last year, another key marker was how, as founders, the Nayar family continued to hold majority stake in the company when it hit the market. This is in variance with the norm where entrepreneurs dilute equity to venture capitalists and private equity investors to raise funds for rapid growth.

Notwithstanding the immense success at the company’s public offering — it was oversubscribed nearly 82.5 times — it is still early days for India’s online beauty and personal care retail market. A subsequent tempering of the market sentiment did impact the stock performance, even though the venture’s unique selling proposition and differentiated business model cannot be ignored.

At the E-Adda — these discussions moved online during the pandemic – previous guests include Infosys Non-Executive Chairman Nandan Nilekani, Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and MSMEs Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal, AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian and Kotak Mahindra Bank MD & CEO Uday Kotak.

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