Licious, a Bengaluru-based fresh meat brand has secured around $25 million in series C round of funding led by Vertex Ventures SEA and India, UCLA and Bertelsmann India Investments. Several other investors including existing investors Mayfield India, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and InnoVen Capital participated in the round.
Bertelsmann India Investment has inaugurated its investment in India in the fresh foods sector. Licious was advised by Investec as an external financial advisor for the deal. The startup plans to use the funds to expand to new cities, fostering the value-added product segments and upholding the supply chain strengths.
Operated by Delightful Gourmet Private Limited, the startup was founded by Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta in 2015. Licious offers its customers fresh and prime quality seafood and meat products. The startups launched an online platform to enable deliveries of a large variety of fresh meat at customers’ doorsteps.
Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director, Bertelsmann India Investments, said, “Direct-to-Consumer fresh food start-ups are re-defining how India produces, distributes and buys food. Licious with their robust supply chain and seamless farm to fork model addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the consumer when it comes to their purchase experience and quality of the product,”
The startup has witnessed a 300 per cent YoY growth and is now the leading fresh meat brand in India. This year, Licious was certified with FSSC 22000 license which is the highest food quality certifications in the globe. With a current presence in cities of Bengaluru, Delhi NCR and Hyderabad, the startup plans to use the funds to expand to Mumbai and Pune by the end of this year.
Earlier in 2017, Licious raised $10 million in series B round from 3one4 Capital and Mayfield Fund. If we talk about competitors, there are startups like Zappfresh, EasyMeat, MeatRoot, Meatigo and several others that pose challenges for Licious.
The livestock sector is one of the most important components of agriculture in India. The value of the output from livestock and fisheries sectors together stood at about Rs. 148,954 crores ($31,000 Million) during 1998-99 (Rs. 123,076 crores, equivalent to $28,000 Million, for the Livestock sector and $59,00 Million for fisheries), which accounts for 27 per cent of the value of the output of Rs. 553,175 crores ($115,300 Million) from total Agriculture and the allied fields. (Planning Commission, 2001).
Meat production is estimated at 4.9 million tonnes, standing eighth in rank in the world’s meat production. Buffalo in India contributes about 30% of total meat production. The contribution by cattle, sheep, goats and poultry is 30%, 5%, 10%, 10.2% and 11.5%, respectively.
There are many reasons for the slow growth of the meat industry, including the negative attitude of public towards meat on account of a misinformation campaign, and socio-political considerations. Most meats are sold in the domestic market without proper sanitary inspection by the veterinarians.
Mostly small animals, sheep, goats and pigs are slaughtered in unregistered slaughterhouses in small numbers ranging from 2 – 10 by the individual butchers and meat is sold fresh on the same day. However, large numbers are slaughtered in the modern state-of-the-art abattoirs following world class sanitary and phytosanitary measures.