India’s first woman-led unicorn to go public mints its richest self-made female billionaire

November 11, 2021, 2:38 PM UTC
Falguni Nayar, CEO of Nykaa, speaks at the company’s IPO listing ceremony at the National Stock Exchange in Mumbai on Nov. 10, 2021.

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Mary Barra says GM is undervalued, activists press world leaders on women’s rights and climate change at COP26, and Nykaa’s market debut anoints a female billionaire. Have a thoughtful Thursday.

– In the spotlight. Women in India used to get their makeup and hair care products from small mom-and-pop shops. The stores had few selections, and it was all but impossible for women to test the products before buying them.

That was before Falguni Nayar came along.

The 58-year-old former investment banker founded FSN E-Commerce Ventures Ltd, which runs the beauty retailer Nykaa, in 2012 after recognizing there was an enormous market for luxury beauty products in India, especially when sold alongside how-to videos and testimonials. Since its launch, Nykaa has become India’s top beauty retailer and opened 80 physical stores to complement its e-commerce platform. Nykaa sells products from over 2,500 brands—exfoliators, lipsticks, kohl eyeliner, nail polish—that are tailored for Indian skin and local weather, Bloomberg reports.

On Wednesday, Nykaa’s parent company became the first woman-led unicorn in India to go public. Its Mumbai IPO raised 53.5 billion rupees ($720 million) and saw shares surge 96% on their first day of trading, valuing the company at nearly $14 billion. The listing made Nayar, who owns half the company, the richest self-made female billionaire in the country with a net worth of nearly $7 billion.

In her past career as an investment banker, Nayar helped entrepreneurs go public. Now she’s done it herself. “Women need to allow the spotlight of their lives to be on themselves,” she said after the Wednesday debut. “I hope more women like me dare to dream for themselves.”

Claire Zillman

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


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