Passion, grit, and resilience motivated these incredible women to etch their name as the most successful business women in India. Let’s explore their story and what makes them unique:
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw – Mazumdar-Shaw aimed to be a brewmaster like her father but ended up joining an Irish company, Biocon Biochemicals. This proved to be her stepping stone for starting Biocon India in 1978. Biocon deals in the production of generic pharmaceutical ingredients. She brought landmark breakthroughs in research, thus driving its growth from the early 2000s, expanding to over 120 countries. Presently, Mazumdar-Shaw is estimated to be worth $4.6 billion.
Falguni Nayar – An IIM-A graduate with 19 years of experience as an investment banker, Nayar founded Nykaa in 2012 with an investment of $2 million. Her love for beauty products and the zeal to explore online marketing inspired her entrepreneurial venture. She roped in authentic and reliable brands under one roof with Nykaa. Not surprisingly, Nykaa now boasts over 1200 genuine brands and a retail presence of 68 stores and is valued at an estimated $1.2 billion last year.
Vani Kola – Vani Kola’s Kalaari Capital is a venture capital fund valued at $160 million. Kola worked in the US for 12 years before forming her e-procurement company, RightWorks and NthOrbit, a supply-chain software developing company in the USA. Kalaari Capital is the revamped avatar of her venture capital firm NEA Indo-US Venture Partners. Her strong Silicon Valley and venture capital experience are apparent in her funding of online businesses like Dream 11, Instamojo, Scoopwhoop, and Urban Ladder, to name a few.
Ritu Kumar – Ritu Kumar, who has been in the fashion industry for over 50 years, was a museology student who discovered the world of fashion by accident. Starting with a few hand-block artists and a single shop, Kumar is now sought after by movie stars and was even felicitated with the Padmashri. The Ritu Kumar label now has 3 stores across India. By 2020, her turnover was reported to be around Rs 300 crores.
Shahnaz Husain – With her brand Shahnaz Herbals, Shahnaz Husain started a herbal care revolution Indian beauty industry. Valued at $25 million, Shahnaz Herbals now has a presence in over 138 countries. Starting her journey in 1970 with a herbal clinic, Shahnaz Herbal has grown to over 400 franchises worldwide.
Vandana Luthra – Luthra started the first VLCC centre in 1989, after studying nutrition and cosmetology in Germany. Her original idea was to run it as a wellness centre in Delhi. However, thanks to her expertise and overwhelming customer response, VLCC grew nationally and also internationally, with nearly 40% of the annual revenue of $91 million generated overseas.
Chitra Gurnani Daga – Chitra’s online travel experience and activity platform, Thrillophilia, overcame the initial struggle to become a popular travel-related portal. She is passionate about adventure and travel and hired experts who shared her passion for the same. Started with an initial investment of $1.3 million, Thrillophilia has now clocked over 40 million visitors and served over 2 million customers.
Aditi Gupta – Apart from the entrepreneurial success of her platform Menstrupedia, Aditi Gupta has been a success in breaking down the age-old social taboo around menstruation. This small-town girl from Jharkhand started Menstrupedia as an educative guiding platform on the subject in 2012 and is now used in over 6000 schools across India.
Divya Gokulnath – Coming from a middle-class family from Bengaluru, Divya started as a teacher in BYJU’s offline centre. Driven by the passion for teaching, Gokulnath and her husband went on to co-found one of the world’s most highly valued education technology startup in 2011. The couple is valued at a combined $3.05 billion, as their e-learning app continues to cater to over 3 million subscribers.
Devita Saraf – Coming from the family that made Zenith Computers in the 90s, Devita founded the luxury television and new-age technology brand Vu in 2006. An MBA from the University of Southern California, Saraf’s brand is now valued at $130 million.
The entrepreneurial spirit and achievements of these women will inspire generations. Their success story continues to drive more female participation in the nation’s economy through their hard work and sincerity.