‘I was not afraid to be different’: How founding a company at 49 helped Nykaa CEO Falguni Nayar become a multi-billionaire
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Capital B debuts, it’s been a decade since the founding of Black Lives Matter, and Nykaa founder Falguni Nayar relied on decades of confidence to achieve a multi-billion-dollar exit. Have a thoughtful Tuesday.
– Beauty mogul. Almost three months ago, Falguni Nayar became a billionaire seven times over when her company, the Indian beauty ecommerce business Nykaa, debuted on the public markets. The founder’s stake was valued at $7 billion, and the IPO made her the first Indian woman to take a unicorn public.
In the February/March issue of Fortune, Nayar reflects on the journey to IPO—and what lies ahead for her company. A former banker, Nayar came up with the idea for Nykaa after observing the endless shelves at stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty during her travels. “In India, the beauty consumer used five products, and that’s it,” she says. Since 2012, Nykaa has worked to introduce more products to the Indian beauty consumer, growing both its share of the beauty market and the market itself. In Nykaa’s last fiscal year, customers spent $453 million on its beauty and personal care offerings—and that doesn’t include the company’s newer entry into fashion. (Its stock, however, is down 24% since its IPO-day pop.)
Today, Nayar is 58, which means she was 49 when she founded her first startup. The CEO has said she was determined to start a company by the time she turned 50. With that experience came confidence in herself and in her vision.
“I was not afraid to be different,” she says now. “‘When I started the business, people said, “Why beauty? If you want to do e-commerce, you should do electronics or fashion.’ But I wanted to do beauty. I stuck to it. Then people said, ‘Oh, you’re raising such a small amount of money.’ They thought the business was not valuable because I wasn’t raising billions of dollars from global investors. But I did what was right from a business perspective at every step of the way. That confidence came from many years of having operated in a business environment.”
The lessons the CEO took away from her midlife career change are similar to the ones she offers to female entrepreneurs in India—or anywhere: “Women need to not feel guilty if they want to dream for themselves.”
Read my full interview with Nayar here.
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.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Sad study. A new study finds that women who faced high levels of financial stress during the pandemic were also more likely to have experienced physical violence and emotional abuse for the first time in their relationships. Violence was more likely in relationships where there was a significant financial disparity between the partners. New York Times
- 10 years later. The new issue of New York magazine is devoted to the 10th anniversary of Black Lives Matter. As part of the issue, this piece spends time with Sybrina Fulton, who lost her son Trayvon Martin 10 years ago this month. There's also another story on the burden placed on the Black mother.
- New in news. News editors Lauren Williams and Akoto Ofori-Atta launched a new media platform this week: Capital B, a newsroom devoted to telling stories and breaking news for Black audiences. So far, the publication has a staff of 16 and $9 million in funding. Washington Post
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: The National Geographic Society hired Georgetown University director of private investments Kristi Craig as chief investment officer. Former All Raise CEO Pam Kostka joins Operator Collective as an operator-in-residence on its platform team. The Texas Women's Foundation named Michelynn "Miki" Woodard its next CEO. Revolution Growth promoted Kristin Gunther to partner and Nancy Hilliker to VP. Rachel Maddow is taking a hiatus from MSNBC.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Stereotype watch. Where does the "angry Black woman" stereotype come from—and how does it play out in the workplace? The authors of this piece offer ways to counter the harmful narrative, including acknowledging the problem exists and challenging the stereotype when you see it at work: Harvard Business Review
- Hiring pool. Burnt-out teachers are quitting in droves; the quit rate in education rose more than in any other U.S. industry last year. Companies are eager to take advantage and are hiring teachers to work sales, software, and training jobs. Wall Street Journal
- Running ban. The former Nike running coach Alberto Salazar was barred for life from the sport by the United States Center for SafeSport after an arbitrator found Salazar "more likely than not had sexually assaulted an athlete on two different occasions." Salazar denied the allegations at an appeal, but the arbitrator did not find his version of events to be credible. New York Times
ON MY RADAR
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The radical woman behind Goodnight Moon The New Yorker
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