India's Licious Becomes Unicorn With $52 Mn Fundraise Licious is the 29th unicorn to emerge out of India this year amid an unprecedented funding boom
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
The tech-powered, D2C fresh animal protein brand Licious, achieved a billion dollars valuation post receipt of funding worth $52 million led by IIFL AMC's Late Stage Tech Fund. Avendus FLF (Future Leaders Fund) has also invested in this round.
Avendus Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Licious for the transaction.
"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 unorganized that holds a vast opportunity of $40 billion. As the category leader, we aim at paving the way for the second wave of young start-ups 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. In the coming years, you will see Licious work towards building a sustainable, responsible business that will reimagine the animal protein category in India through an optimal mix of global influence and products curated for the Indian palate. But most of all, you will see us championing the cause of fresh meats and seafood sector as we continue to put it in the front row of consumer businesses in India," shared Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, co-founders, Licious, in a joint statement.
The D2C market in India is at an inflection point and is expected to attain a size of more than 100 billion by 2025. The pandemic has played a major role in accelerating growth for the sector. Despite this, the sector failed to produce a Unicorn until Licious. 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 rigor of building a robust infrastructure that can sustain growth and enable quick scale-up. This needs a bottom-up approach and discipline from Day zero- a rare accomplishment that Licious was able to unlock. The achievement of Licious Unicorn status is expected to not only further the journey of the brand but unlock the next level of opportunities for the animal protein sector through an inflow of investment, talent, and the emergence of more startups that will help raise the bar in all aspects, the platform said.
"Licious has disrupted the meat and seafood category, which has largely been unorganized and underserved. Vivek and Abhay have demonstrated high levels of customer-centricity and an unparalleled focus on the 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. Today, Licious is amongst the fastest-growing D2C brands and is one of the few consumer businesses in India with very strong revenue retention metrics. We are excited to partner with them in this journey of creating India's most-loved meat and seafood brand," said Chetan Naik, IIFL AMC.
Known for its category-first initiatives, Licious, has been responsible for disrupting the sector over the last 6 years. Earlier this year, Licious allocated ESOPs to over 1000 employees including the blue-collared workforce. This was followed by a buyback worth INR30 crore, in August. The company also recently announced its pledge to comply to the lofty global ESG standards, setting new benchmarks for sustainability and governance. Spread across 14 Indian cities, the company has experienced an unprecedented growth of over 500 per cent that company saw during the last year followed by the continuing momentum of the same. Licious has successfully delivered to more than 2 million unique customers to date.
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.