Licious, an online meat delivery startup, announced on Tuesday that it has raised $52 million (~ Rs 387 crore) in a Series G funding round backed by IFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund alongside other private equity investors. The round also saw participation from Avendus FLF (Future Leaders Fund).
Licious, based in Bengaluru, said in a statement that it has become India’s first direct-to-consumer (D2C) unicorn as a result of the funding round. The funding values the startup at $1.05 billion post-money, making it the 28th Indian startup to get listed in the prestigious unicorn club in 2021 following ed-tech Vedantu, and the 69th Indian startup to cross the $1 billion valuation threshold.
This fresh funding round comes after the startup’s Series F round, where it raised $192 million backed by Singapore-based venture capital firm Temasek among other private equity investors which include Brunei Investment Agency and existing investors Bertelsmann India Investments, 3one4 Capital, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures. So far, Licious has secured roughly $210 million from a bunch of notable investors, including the latest transaction.
Licious, which was founded by Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta in 2015, depends heavily on a farm to fork business model, which means it owns the complete back-end distribution network. That includes strong cold chain control, which allows it to preserve the quality and freshness of each product from the beginning to procurement, processing, and storage until it gets delivers to the customers.
The Licious cofounders also commented on the fundraise saying, “Although the funding for the D2C sector has grown significantly, FMCG is still not considered the most attractive category. We expect that Licious’ unicorn status will change that. The fresh meats and seafood sector are still largely underserved and unorganized that holds a vast opportunity of $40 billion.”
Licious, every month, handles around 1 million orders, with over 90 percent repeat consumption all across its markets. The company currently employs around 3,500 individuals and operates an eponymous e-commerce marketplace supplying meat and seafood across 14 Indian cities that include Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Puducherry, Kochi, Vizag, Vijayawada, and Kolkata. The company has established its own supply chain infrastructure in many Indian cities in order to procure meat and seafood, keep everything fresh, and deliver it within hours of the order.
The Bengaluru-based startup also announced it would focus to develop a profitable, socially responsible business that will revolutionize the animal protein category in India using a blend of global influence and products handpicked for the taste and preferences. Licious offered employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) to nearly 1,000 employees, including blue-collar workers, earlier this year. This was facilitated by a Rs 30 crore buyback in August.