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.
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.
So when asked how much has changed, how much is changing, and what more needs to be done, Shanti 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 women-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.
Published by CNBC-TV18 on November 11 | https://bit.ly/3paEr2p
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