homeyoung turks NewsYoung Turks: Post Nykaa’s blockbuster listing, women experts discuss gender disparity and entrepreneurship
young turks | Nov 11, 2021 8:36 PM IST

Young Turks: Post Nykaa’s blockbuster listing, women experts discuss gender disparity and entrepreneurship


In India, there are not many women business owners today. India has the third-largest gender gap in entrepreneurship in the world. Although women account for nearly 49 percent of the total population in the country, they account for only 14 percent of total entrepreneurs, says government data.

When beauty start-up Nykaa’s founder Falguni Nayar became India's wealthiest self-made female billionaire following the company's blockbuster listing, she not only defied norms but also shattered many glass ceilings. Nykaa is India's first woman-led unicorn to hit the public markets. It's also the only profitable billion-dollar start-up to test the waters of Dalal Street. Falguni founded the company at 50.

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Just a handful of India's 72-odd billion-dollar start-ups have women founders and co-founders. As the list of unicorns gets longer, faster than ever before women find themselves to be rarer than the rare stakeholders of this elite club.
Long-standing societal tethers aside, there is also funding bias against women founder CEOs. Between January of 2018 and June of 2020, women-led start-ups received just 1.43 percent of total funding, according to Makers India Report. This disparity at the top is a reflection of how uneven the playing field truly is for women entrepreneurs.
In India today, there are not many women business owners, not as many as should be there. In fact, the country has the third biggest gender gap in entrepreneurship across the world. Although women account for nearly 49 percent of the total population in India, they constitute only 14 percent of total entrepreneurs, as per government data.
To discuss what needs to be done to level the playing field and champion the next generation of women founder CEOs in India, CNBC-TV18 spoke with Priyanka Gill, Co-Founder, Good Glamm Group; Shanti Mohan, Founder, LetsVenture, and Padmaja Ruparel, Co-Founder, Indian Angel Network.
When asked what the Nykaa listing meant for them, Ruparel said, Zomato created one paradigm where a start-up listed, but Nykaa has taken it to the next level. It is not only woman-led but the most defining moment was that Falguni Nayar started a venture at 50.
“I think she has not just been an inspiration for women, it has been for across genders. It just marks the growth of the start-up ecosystem in India - in nine years from start to IPO, is exactly what we are seeing in the ecosystem and it's getting faster and faster and bigger and bigger. So, the defining moment is she has really set an aspiration for many, not only women start-ups, not only women-led companies emerging, but across the board, so for me, it was a huge inspiration,” she added.
Gill said, “It clearly is a watershed moment for the entire start-up ecosystem for us in the country. It is a time when a profitable start-up unicorn comes of age and lists and it is female-led, and it does so well. It just shows we have come of age and for me personally, it is a huge moment, I have been a big fangirl of Falguni and what she has built with Nykaa. She is kind of the torchbearer for a category as you know, I run a D2C beauty and personal care start-up. I am the co-founder of that, so hugely excited, and we can't wait for Nykaa to continue to flourish and really set the tone for all the IPOs that are to follow.”
So, while this is a defining moment for the Indian start-up ecosystem, it also sends out a message as far as women entrepreneurs are concerned. The data from the Niti Aayog survey on women entrepreneurship – 66 percent of women surveyed believe that lack of funding opportunities is a reality, lack of awareness of government schemes 49 percent, scaling up marketing 48 percent, and gender bias 28 percent. This survey includes the views of the top 30 women entrepreneurs who have actually won Women Entrepreneurship awards at Niti Aayog in 2019. These are the women who have already been able to climb the ladder of success.
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So when asked how much has changed, how much is changing and what more needs to be done, Mohan said, "What we are seeing as data on the platform is that though there are a lot of women coming into the ecosystem, building companies, I think the ratio of of woman-led companies, the ratio of the funding is much lower. Even on the LetsVenture platform, we are actually seeing, though there are a large number of start-ups getting funded, the woman-led founders are actually much smaller in comparison to the male-led founder start-ups."
“Here the more important element to bring out is that we have to also focus on how we can enable more woman investors to start looking at investing in start-ups. That is one of the things we have started looking at in LetsVenture because we believe, while you can create a lot of schemes for women founders, how do we look at the investing ecosystem and try to bring in more women into the investing space, so that that would encourage more women founders to come in...to, kind of, create a partnership between the investor and the founder on the woman's side of it," said Mohan.
For the entire discussion, watch the accompanying video
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