D2C meat and seafood brand Licious shifted towards India’s first unicorn from the Direct-to-Consumer segment after the firm raised $52 million led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund. Overall, it is the 29th business to attain the desired unicorn status in 2021 only.
In June, the Bengaluru-based company had lifted $192 million in its Series F funding round led by Temasek and Multiples Private Equity. Brunei Investment Agency and current investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India too participated in the funding round.
“Even though the funding for [the] D2C sector has grown significantly, FMCG is still not considered the most attractive category,” stated Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, co-founders of Licious.
“The fresh meats and seafood sector is still largely underserved and disorganised that holds a vast opportunity of $40 billion,” they continued.
Earlier this year, Licious had allocated ESOPs to over 1,000 employees, including its blue-collared workforce. This was accompanied by a buyback worth Rs 30 crores in August.
Licious became the 29th startup to attain unicorn status in 2021 alone. Last month, ed-tech startup Vedantu, a professional networking platform for blue and grey collar workers, Apna and e-sports platform MPL had entered the club.
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Licious, which is present in 14 Indian cities, is claimed to have grown 500% in the last year and delivered to more than 2 million unique consumers so far. The six-year-old business has made a farm-to-fork model including managing the entire back-end supply chain. Early last year, it had also forayed into the ready-to-eat division.
FreshToHome, also Bengaluru-formed, has appeared as the most prominent opponent to Licious. The company had scooped up $121 million in its Series C round in October 2020. Zapfresh, MeatRoot and Easymeat also compete with Licious in this space.
The annual financial result for FY20 listed by Licious reveals that it recorded a 90% upsurge in its top line to Rs 131.82 crore in FY20 from Rs 69.43 crore in FY19. Its expenses amounted to Rs 283.8 crore, while losses were decreased by 66.65% to Rs 146.3 crore in FY20. The corporation is yet to file its financials for FY21.
In six years, the online meat delivery startup Licious has performed an impressive and in niche market area. It continues to disrupt the animal protein scope in the country. But it all started with a messy experience back then.
Licious has 250 perishable items, performing at a 90-minute delivery promise to consumers across 110 delivery centres from five processing centres. The farm-to-fork period was 24 to 36 hours. From ready-to-cook to cold cuts to chicken spreads, which Licious started this year, the business has opened its arms across the complete spectrum of these products.
“Consumer brands always think ‘where will my next Rs 200-300 crore come from? Do I need to go to tier-1, 2 cities or maybe international?’ We have seen that our existing consumer base is itself a significant opportunity already, so we launched something as interesting as breakfast spreads. We were puzzled to know that one of the first meat spreads in the world was from India,” Founder Abhay Hanjura said.