It is only a matter of time before India sees more women in tech entrepreneurship: Nykaa founder Falguni Nayar
While gender inequality in entrepreneurship is a global problem, Falguni Nayar, Founder and CEO,, said it is only a matter of time before more women join India’s tech entrepreneurship.
"Very often, these things (gender biases) are ingrained very early days. It is conditional through generations... and changing slowly. I can see a lot more women entrepreneurs coming up, and hopefully, we won't need to have this conversation in future," she told Deep Kalra, Founder and CEO, MakeMyTrip, during the Unstoppable India: TiEconDelhi 2022 conference.
A formidable entrepreneur, Falguni has stealthily led Nykaa to become India’s only profitable unicorn and launch a blockbuster IPO in November 2021.
Since the early days of Nykaa tapping into the cosmetic industry, Falguni has constantly reiterated the importance of freedom for women to dream for themselves — a message that resonated well with Millennials.
"I used to go and make it a point to connect and meet with women in smaller towns and all across the country to hold something called 'Beauty Bars' to interact with the women customers," she said.
Falguni adds, "Somewhere, I started giving my message that you need to be the star and the principal actor in your life. And for too long, women were too afraid to ask more for themselves, fearing they may upset the balance at home. It is their freedom, and they must dream for themselves. And, this message really related to a lot of our customers.”
Reflecting on the Nykaa journey
A big part of Nykaa's success, Falguni said, can be attributed to getting the digital marketing right for the beauty and personal care startup.
"But, if I were to start again, I would have definitely done the technology differently. I would definitely have a tech person as a co-founder, which would save me a lot of early-stage hassle and allow for further acceleration and growth in the early years," she added.
Even so, Nykaa has had a history-making journey — one that venture capital investors believe is one of the most solid real businesses in India.
During her entrepreneurial journey, Falguni said, she was often asked about the challenges of building a business, but the entrepreneur simply does not entertain pessimistic views.
“I am an adventurer at heart and seek experiences. Honestly, I'll be the weakest swimmer, but I'll jump in the sea. I am quite foolish in a way not to see the risk at all. With patience, belief, and positivity, one can move forward. I am an optimist. I don't feel the pressure or see a pessimistic view at all. I just roll up my sleeves and get down to work,” she said.
Nykaa saw a loss of Rs 43.5 crore in one month amidst the COVID-19 peak. Before the pandemic, the company did not make a loss of more than Rs 25 crore in a year.
"However, instead of panicking and letting go of employees, we cut down our marketing costs to 5.6 percent. I feel like COVID had a large human price to pay, and I can't complicate it by asking people to leave. I dive deeper into data, understand the problem, and most of the time, the solution comes to me," she said.
Edited by Suman Singh