~Licious raises $25 million investment led by Bertelsmann India, Vertex Ventures~
~UCLA and existing investors also participated in the round to expand current product portfolio and market reach~
~With more than 300% percent growth year on year, Licious has etched its path to becoming India’s leading food brand operating in the fresh meat and seafood category~
Bengaluru, India: Licious, India’s leading fresh meat and seafood brand, today announced that it has raised $25 million in a Series-C growth round led by Bertelsmann India, Vertex Ventures along with UCLA and existing investors Mayfield India, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and InnoVen Capital. The funds will be used to expand to new cities, fostering the value-added product category, and strengthening the supply chain. The announcement comes hot on the heels of Licious announcing its plans to enter the Mumbai and Pune market by end of 2018 adding to its dominant market presence across Delhi NCR, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
In a highly underserved market which is estimated at $40 billion today, Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta founded Licious in 2015 with the vision to disrupt the vastly unorganised meat and seafood market. As a category-first brand, backed by technology, Licious has been able to solve the prevailing customer pain points of quality, hygiene, freshness and convenience in a sustainable manner. Licious is built on the farm to fork business model, which owns the entire back-end supply chain powered by stringent cold chain control to maintain the quality and freshness of each product from the time of procurement, processing, storage to the time it reaches the end consumer.
2018 witnessed accelerated growth in terms of reach, accessibility, product innovation and excellence. From becoming the only meat and seafood brand from India to be certified with FSSC 22000, one of the highest food safety certifications in the world, to adding an expansive range of value-added products to its fresh meat and seafood portfolio with spreads, marinades and pickles, the company is extremely bullish about continuing to innovate and bring some of the most inventive products for its growing consumer base. Licious continues to enjoy 90% repeat business monthly, even with its exponential growth, which is testament to the brands product excellence and customer happiness.
“To be able to build a transformational, category leading food brand in one of the most complex and underserved sectors requires conviction and innovation at a fundamental level. In the past 3 years we have confidently led the way with every milestone. With investors existing and new sharing our conviction in building an ecosystem which challenges the status quo, we are extremely bullish about our plans going ahead. These funds will greatly aid us in deepening and widening our market presence and enable us to offer new products and services our customers will love.” said Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, co-founders, Licious.
“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 product. We have strong conviction in the founding team’s vision and strategy to build Licious as the most trusted brand for fresh food and gourmet food products, in India” said Pankaj Makkar, Managing Director, Bertelsmann India Investments.
Commenting on the transaction, Ben Mathias, Managing Partner at Vertex Ventures SEA and India said “the consumption basket of the Indian consumer is expanding rapidly and in very interesting ways as the per capita disposable income rises. With this, we believe that frequency of meat consumption, which was traditionally seen as an occasional meal, will increase significantly. This presents a great opportunity, and we are excited to partner with Abhay, Vivek and the Licious team in their endeavour to deliver the best quality fresh meat and seafood products to customers across the country.”
Joe Bryant, Investment Director, UCLA Investment Company reflects: “Licious leaps out as the consumer brand of choice for the evolving Indian who wants an ethically-sourced cut of fresh lamb, goat, fish or chicken conveniently delivered to the home with the click of a button. It’s a shining example of how technology can be utilized to benefit all Indians: from the rural farmer to the urban consumer.”
“Since their first capital raise with us, the Licious team has proven that a ruthless prioritization of everything that goes into delivering an uncompromising end user experience .is the secret to building a sustainable and large value proposition. We are delighted to continue supporting this team and to welcome new partners who will help them scale up to realizing their grand vision for the space.” said Pranav Pai, Founding Partner of 3one4 Capital which was one of the first investors in Licious.
Investec acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Licious on this transaction.