Indian Economy News

Licious becomes India's 30th unicorn in 2021; first D2C startup to enter the club

  • IBEF
  • October 6, 2021

Licious, a Bengaluru based direct-to-consumer (D2C) fresh animal protein brand startup, has become India’s 30th unicorn in 2021, with a fresh US$ 52 million fundraise in a Series G round at a US$ 1 billion valuation, led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund. Licious recently has expanded its offering to overseas markets to focus on the D2C market in India which is expected to reach US$ 100 billion by 2025. The new investment is likely to enhance Licious’ offerings in fresh meat and seafood consumer business.

In spite of the brands directly selling online, the startups in the vertical are yet to reach US$ 1 billion valuation status. D2C has the apparent advantage of direct consumer link that helps them identify gaps and position their products consequently. Though, they also must go through the rigor of building a robust infrastructure that can maintain growth and enable quick scale-up. This needs a bottom-up approach and discipline from Day 0, a rare achievement that Licious was able to unlock, the Bengaluru headquartered startup stated in a statement.

“Even though the funding for D2C sector has raised considerably, FMCG is still not considered the most appealing category. We expect that Licious' Unicorn status will alter that. The fresh meats and seafood sector is still mainly underserved and unorganised that carries a vast opportunity of US$ 40 billion. As the category leader, we aim at paving the way for a second wave of young start-ups that can unite 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,” Mr. Vivek Gupta and Mr. Abhay Hanjura, co-founders of Licious, said.

The firm aims to further the journey of the brand in the animal protein sector through an inflow of investment, talent & the development of more start-ups that will assist in raising the bar in all aspects.

Licious said that it is working on building a sustainable, responsible business that will reimagine the animal protein category in India through an optimal mix of global influence & products designed for the Indian palate.

 “Licious has disrupted the meat and seafood category, which has largely been unorganised and underserved. Mr. Vivek and Mr. Abhay have exhibited high levels of customer-centricity and an incomparable 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,” Mr. Chetan Naik of IIFL AMC, stated.

Previously 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 (US$ 4.02 million) in August. With its presence across 14 Indian cities Licious said that it saw a growth of 500%. Licious has effectively delivered to more than 2 million unique customers till date, it stated.

In July 2021, Licious raised US$ 192 million in their Series F funding Round, led by Temasek & Multiples, making it the highest funded firm in the fresh animal protein business category. Brunei Investment Agency also contributed to the round along with existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.

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