Shares of cosmetics-to-fashion platform Nykaa made a blockbuster opening on Wednesday, valuing the company at near $13 billion. The company’s founder, Falguni Nayar, spoke to NDTV on Nykaa’s strong market debut.
NDTV: What a day it’s been today for the online beauty makeup fashion site Nykaa. It means a heroine in Sanskrit and it really is the heroine of the day today, listing at a nearly 89% above its offer price. And joining me today is someone who’s got every reason to celebrate the driving force by Nykaa, Falguni, Naira and Mizar. Congratulations. And did you expect this already in the early morning, credit crossed one lakh crore market cap, and Bloomberg is now saying, You’re India’s richest self-made woman billionaire?
Falguni Nayar: Thank you, Sonia, I think we are just trying to build a great company that is well loved by consumers. And I think a good market reception is, it is very encouraging. So yes, I do agree that it calls for celebration sometime today.
NDTV: It’s been, what a journey it’s actually been. Is this something you expected? I mean, the fantastic bet as that you’re, it’s also a woman led unicorn. It’s also one of the few profitable unicorns. It’s really rewritten so many of the stories we’ve seen around unicorns’ IPOs, about women led businesses. What would you say today, when you look at the journey that you made to get here?
Falguni Nayar: I think I; you know, I had been an IPO banker and taken a lot of companies to the IPO. And that gave me an excitement to want to start an entrepreneurial journey of my own. So today, culminating in the IPO, it is a fantastic feeling that, you know, one has come so far and developed the maturity to be able to be a listed and traded player in the capital markets.
NDTV: So, what do you think is your biggest learning?
Falguni Nayar: I think the biggest learning is the power of technology. I think when I started this journey, I was embracing E-commerce and internet. But I think the power of technology and its ability to do complex and, you know, multiple tasks at scale, and also very agile and personalize, you know, personalized conversations with millions of customers simultaneously. And I think all this has been big discoveries that I’ve really enjoyed learning about and of course, implementing it in our company.
NDTV: And how do you think really, because how did the idea you said that, of course, that you had taken other companies to IPO. But the fact that it was a need, perhaps that many may not have felt because you’re so used to buying makeup from like, you know, just to store the brand? How did you think this would translate into something which grew also so rapidly? It is interesting, we saw Katrina Kaif. Also, at your listing today is one of our shareholders. What did you see as the opening in the market? And what do you think really clicked and made it take off? Do you think the lockdown helped as well in terms of people just switching to online sites?
Falguni: I think in 2012, when I started the business, I think beauty was a very big business, both in Asia like Japan and South Korea, as well as Europe and US. And somehow in India, the beauty business was not taking off. There were adversities in terms of India as a like large geographical country. And in the nascent stage of the business, it was hard to meet the needs of such a large, geographically diverse, and, you know, also ethnically diverse country with what they like. And I think like I felt that with E-commerce, we can service this category much better. And that’s how we decided to set up an E-vertical commerce company focus only on beauty. I also believe that education was at the corner of cornerstone of beauty consumption. And for us to be able to grow the beauty consumption, we needed to educate the customer. And again, digitally that is so very easily possible to educate customers, you know, at scale, and through that education, create demand for products and I think Nykaa in many ways, has created the beauty industry in the country. You may be aware that we have a, we own a brand jointly with Katrina Kaif. It’s called K Beauty. It’s a brand that we started together and she’s been very instrumental in helping us build the brand. I mean, she’s a joint owner, and also, she’s been, she’s conceptualized the brand and we are building it together. So, I think she’s a business partner to Nykaa and that’s how she’s here today.
NDTV: And what’s wonderful also the startup world is that we see so many people who are really first generation our business people and suddenly billionaire. So, in that sense, it’s really an inspirational aspirational model for India today and young people, do you find young people coming up to you all the time? And do you think that’s actually nice if you don’t have to, it doesn’t matter what you are that you have, whether you’re from a business family or not, to make billions today?
Falguni Nayar: Yeah, of course, I’ve always seen that a lot of younger, young millennials, as I call them, or Gen Z, they’re very passionate about creating and building something. They’re always looking at new ideas. And when I have conversations with them, I find it very exciting both for them. They are learning from me, but I’m also equally learning from them.
NDTV: Right? And, of course, I’d made this point also about the profitability. And the thing is that Nykaa is one of the few unicorns and IPOs, currently, which is actually profitable. So, you’ll always have the experts or the market experts will say, you know, be a little bit careful on unicorns, because many of them are not in profit yet, you need to be looking at the numbers carefully. Do you think the fact the profitability of your IPO of your company is also given it an edge today in its IPO?
Falguni Nayar: Yeah, of course, I think it’s not just about the profitability, but it’s also because profitability is also a balance between growth and also, you know, pace of growth. Visa V the kind of unit economics are generating from your existing business. I think Nykaa has been very frugal on capital, consumption, and also, it’s been very respectful of the capital it has, and made it work long, you know, go further. And I think that discipline of choosing the right unit economic metrics, and also trying to be frugal, and you know, very respectful of the capital that you have. I think Nykaa will continue on that journey.
NDTV: And they’ve been so many. There’s been so much hype about many blockbuster, IPOs and unicorns coming out. And one of the tags I guess you’ll have to get used to is amongst the world’s richest now, as I said, the wealthiest in India as well. The 18th richest family apparently the latest Bloomberg index, what does that mean to you? When you hear this tag of amongst the world’s richest?
Falguni Nayar: I don’t think anything changes I think will remain the same. And I think we are a family that’s very passionate about. You know, creating and building something we respect hard work we respect. I think what is important about Nykaa is great corporate governance. I think earlier today, you must have seen our bankers and everybody will say that Nykaa has been a young company with a corporate governance standard have been fantastic. I think we want to be very balanced on serving all the stakeholders in an equal manner. I think the New Age companies have to show different way of functioning that way you I think today’s generation expects you to have a much more measured and balanced growth approach. And I think Nykaa is clearly going to value that and we also as a company, as a family are going to value that.
NDTV: Fantastic, but I hope you’re gonna have a celebration tonight, which would be extra special because this really is a well, one of a kind day.
Falguni Nayar: I think we are planning to go for dinner to our favorite restaurant, which happens to be at Four Seasons close to our home. But yes, that’s the plan.
NDTV: Okay, wonderful. Well, we wish you all the best. As I said, it’s great to see this blockbuster listing and congratulation for all the hard work that has gone into today. We wish you the best. Thank you.
Falguni Nayar: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much, Sonia.
NDTV: And you said also today that you actually decided to take this leap, this leap of faith as it were backed, of course, with your experience, just before you turned 50. So, you will actually defy all stereotypes. Also, to make it here, what’s the biggest learning you have or the learning you’d like to share with all our viewers tonight, who I think will now be looking up to you as a mentor role model?
Falguni Nayar: No, I think there is definitely learning the ages no bar for sure. I hate being I hate to be encountered as women entrapreneur or women this thing. So, but yes, I think one has to break all stereotypes, including gender stereotypes.
NDTV: And also, I think, also democratize it because now it doesn’t matter where you are really. So, did you find it interesting that the kind of different demands or the needs or what did it teach you about India and what they say perhaps a beauty requirements or needs were our thoughts were because the water this whole journey teach you?
Falguni Nayar: I think Indian consumer deep insight into Indian consumer and how they consume. And I think from early days, you know, I was looking at signs of whether consumer in Varanasi consumes different products and in Delhi. And to our surprise, no. And even today, we keep seeing that when we look at data of tier two and tier three consumption, at least on our site, it is very similar to consumption in tier one. So, there is the similar aspirational consumer who wants to consume similar brands, even in smaller cities in the country. And I think learning about much larger India of today beyond Bombay, and Delhi, has been the most fascinating learning for both me as well as for Anshit and Advita, who are with me in this business.
NDTV: And you mentioned that you don’t like labels you don’t want to be known necessarily as a woman as a self-made woman billionaire or as it’s about it’s not about gender or beauty as such. You’re a business person, but it remains the fact that this is usually an area and especially the startup area. We don’t see so many women business role models, was it difficult for you at all? Did you have to battle any stereotypes or did you find it a level playing field?
Falguni Nayar: No, I think I have been very fortunate, whether it was how I grew up as an equal in a family, you know, where I think there was no difference between a boy and a girl in terms of the kind of commitment they needed to show for towards education or towards work. And I enjoyed similar support system, you know, all throughout, you know, from even my spouse, Sanjay. So, I don’t think in our home, there is a real conversation about All women should not commit themselves to this. I think entrepreneurship is all about deep, deep commitment of time and energy and passion to something that you feel so passionately about. And I think I’ve been fortunate to be able to pursue my journey without, you know, without any judgment.
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