Bengaluru-based gourmet meat startup Licious has raised $25 Mn (INR 178.2 Cr) in a Series D funding round led by Japan-based Nichirei Corp. Existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, UCLA, and Sistema Asia Fund also participated in this funding round.
In September, the startup raised $25 Mn (INR 178.2 Cr) in Series C growth funding to expand to new cities, fostering the value-added product category, and strengthen the supply chain.
It is now looking to use the fresh funds to expand its operations across seven cities. This includes Mumbai, Pune, and Chennai among others. To date, the company has raised a total funding of $64 Mn (INR 456 Cr).
Founded in 2015 by Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, Licious operates under the farm-to-fork model and controls the backend supply chain along with control on the cold chain across procurement, processing, storage to the delivery stage.
The startup claims to have recorded ‘accelerated’ growth in terms of reach, accessibility and product innovation, as it introduced spreads, marinades and pickles to its portfolio of meat and seafood. It also claims to enjoy 90% repeat business monthly. In April 2018, the founders had told Inc42 that the number of orders grew from 1,000 in July 2015 to 5,500 daily orders, with an average ticket size of $8.4 (INR 550).
Pranav Pai, founding partner, 3one4 capital said, “We believe this partnership will give a synergistic stimulus to the company’s goal of building a best-in-class consumer brand in the fresh gourmet food space. Abhay and Vivek have set out to redefine what the consumer experience should be in this category, and this is a fantastic step forward on that journey.”
India consumes close to $30 Bn (INR 2,160,27 Cr) worth of meat annually, with research showing that demand for meat is set to grow by around 80% by 2022. The Indian meat market is expected to reach $65 Bn (INR 4,680,59 Cr) by 2022.
Currently, a majority of this market is addressed by offline stores such as butcher shops and players like FoodHall which offer high-end imported meats and cold cuts. However, with customers looking for greater convenience and organic options, online delivery channels like Licious, BigBasket, and Zappfresh have seen rapid adoption.
BigBasket recently announced its plans to bring out a new category for its non-vegetarian options and set up a deeper supply chain to focus exclusively on the business. Other players like Zappfresh, EasyMeat, Brown Apron, and MeatRoot have also taken up the charge for a larger share in the market.
With multiple players looking for a piece of the market, Licious’ ambitious fundraise will give it leverage in the capital-intensive hyperlocal delivery space. However, how well it strengthens its presence in these seven cities will decide if this disruption is sustainable in the longer run.
Licious was part of the 2018 edition of the most coveted list of India’s most innovative startups — 42Next by Inc42.