Bengaluru based direct-to-consumer (D2C) fresh animal protein brand startup, Licious has become India’s 30th unicorn in 2021, with a fresh $52 million fundraise in a Series G round at a $1 billion valuation, led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund. Licious lately has expanded its offering to overseas markets to target the D2C market in India expected to reach $100 billion by 2025. The fresh investment is expected to enhance Licious’ offerings in fresh meat and seafood consumer business.
Despite the brands directly selling online, the startups in the vertical are yet to reach $1 billion valuation status. D2C has the obvious advantage of direct consumer connect that helps them identify gaps and position their products accordingly. However, they also must go through the rigour of building a robust infrastructure that can sustain growth and enable quick scale-up. This needs a bottom-up approach and discipline from Day 0 -- a rare accomplishment that Licious was able to unlock, the Bengaluru headquartered firm said in a statement.
"Even though the funding for 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 is still largely underserved and unorganised that holds a vast opportunity of $40 billion. As the category leader, we aim at paving the way for a second wave of young startups that can join hands in fully harnessing the potential that the industry has to offer. We will continue to build the category through investments in technology for supply chain excellence, product innovation, talent, and vendor partner upgrades,” Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, co-founders of Licious, said.
The company aims to further the journey of the brand in the animal protein sector through an inflow of investment, talent & the emergence of more startups that will help raise the bar in all aspects.
Licious said that it is working towards building a sustainable, responsible business that will reimagine the animal protein category in India through an optimal mix of global influence & products curated for the Indian palate.
“Licious has disrupted the meat and seafood category, which has largely been unorganised and underserved. Vivek and Abhay have demonstrated high levels of customer-centricity and an unparalleled focus on supply chain necessary for a perishable product. Licious’ focus on product quality, freshness and innovation has created a strong brand making them the undisputed category leader,” Chetan Naik of IIFL AMC, said.
Earlier this year, Licious allocated ESOPs to over 1,000 employees including the blue-collared workforce. This was followed by a buyback worth Rs 30 crores in August. With its presence across 14 Indian cities Licious said that it saw a growth of 500%. Licious has successfully delivered to more than 2 million unique customers till date, it added.
In July 2021, Licious raised $192 million in their Series F funding Round, led by Temasek & Multiples, making it the highest funded company in the fresh animal protein business category. Brunei Investment Agency also participated in the round along with existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India.
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