Woman & Beauty

An ex-banker invested $2 million to get her beauty startup off the ground and is now the richest self-made woman in India after going public

makeup on bathroom counter
Meaghan Skinner Photographer/Getty Images

  • India-based e-commerce beauty platform Nykaa soared in its public debut.
  • Its founder, Falguni Nayar, became India’s richest self-made woman after the IPO.
  • Nayar invested $2 million in the company when she first launched it after leaving her investment banking job.

Falguni Nayar became India’s richest self-made woman after her beauty company soared in its public debut.

The 58-year-old former investment banker owns about half of her beauty company, called Nykaa. The company’s parent, named FSN E-Commerce Ventures Ltd., went public Wednesday in Mumbai, and shares nearly doubled, Bloomberg reported.

Nayar is now worth nearly $7 billion, making her the wealthiest self-made woman in India, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which showed the country’s overall wealthiest woman is Savitri Jindal, who controls her late husband’s OP Jindal Group.

Nayar was an investment banker for nearly two decades at India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank, founded by billionaire Uday Kotak, Forbes reported. She left her role, and in 2012, she started her now public company with $2 million from her and her husband, Sanjay Nayar, the chairman of private equity firm KKR in India, the Economic Times said.

She told the Economic Times in 2017 that the company ran on family funds for two years because she “wanted to make the metrics happen.”

“We had good momentum by the time I went to investors,” she told the Times.

Before starting her company, most Indian women had to choose from a limited selection of beauty products at local shops, Bloomberg reported. Now, Nykaa is India’s top beauty retailer, with the help of promotions from influencers and dozens of brick-and-mortar stores, Bloomberg wrote. Nykaa’s top makeup brands now include M.A.C, Huda, Kay, and L’Oreal Paris, according to the company’s website.