Licious is India’s first D2C Unicorn, headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. The Company was launched in October 2015 by Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta. Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta had previously worked for Futurisk Insurance and Helion Ventures, respectively. Mr. Hanjura has a biotechnology degree and is an Indian Institute of Insurance alumnus. Mr. Gupta is a rank-holding commerce graduate and chartered accountant.
The company operates on a farm-to-fork model, owning the entire back-end supply chain and cold chain. It operates across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Coimbatore,Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Pondicherry and Kolkata. The company has 5 processing centers, one of each in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Gurugram and 2 in Bengaluru. Licious is recognised with the FSSC22000 UKAS certification for food safety.
In 2019, Licious began to sell meat offline with two Experience Centres – one in Gurugram’s Galleria Market and the other at Bengaluru’s Ascendas Park Square Mall.
Licious received a seed investment of Rupees 6.9 crore ($1 million) from T.V. Mohandas Pai, Manipal Global Education Services and entrepreneur Kanwaljit Singh.
In 2016, the company raised a Series A round of funding of about ₹21 crore ($3 million) from Mayfield Capital and 3one4 Capital.
In the first quarter of 2017, Licious received a Series B round of investment with ₹69 crore ($10 million) from existing and new investors, including Mayfield India, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and Neoplux Technology fund.
In September 2018, Licious raised ₹174 crore ($25 million) in a Series C round of investment. The round was led by Bertelsmann India Investments and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India (part of the Vertex Holdings network of funds). The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), also invested in the company along with existing investors Mayfield India, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and InnoVen Capital.
In December 2018, Licious raised another ₹174 crore ($25 million) in a Series D round of investment. The round was led by Japan’s publicly listed conglomerate Nichirei Group. Existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investment, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, UCLA and Sistema Asia Fund were other contributors.
In December 2019, Licious raised $30 million in its Series E round, led by Singapore-based Vertex Growth Fund. Several existing investors returned, including 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Nichirei Corp, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, and Sistema Asia Fund.
In October 2021, Licious, shifted paradigm by emerging as India’s first D2C Unicorn. The tech powered, D2C fresh animal protein brand achieved a billion dollars valuation post receipt of funding worth $52mn led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund. Avendus FLF also participated in the round.
Licious, a Bangalore-based startup that sells fresh meat and seafood online, said on Tuesday it has raised $52 million in a new financing round and become the first direct-to-consumer startup to attain the unicorn status in the world’s second-largest internet market.
The new round — a Series G — was led by Mumbai-headquartered IIFL. It comes just three months after Licious — which counts 3one4 Capital and Temasek among its investors — raised $192 million at a valuation of about $650 million, TechCrunch reported earlier.
“Even though the funding for the DTC sector has grown significantly, FMCG is still not considered the most attractive category,” said Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, founders of Licious, in a joint statement. “We expect that Licious’ unicorn status will change that. The fresh meats and seafood sector is still largely underserved and unorganised [and] 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.”
Licious has not disclosed several of its performance metrics — such as its sales and margin figures — but says it has grown over 500% in the past one year. It also says it has amassed over 2 million unique customers. In recent months, the startup has spoken about its intentions to expand to international markets.
“Licious has disrupted the meat and seafood category, which has largely been unorganized and underserved,” said Chetan Naik of IIFL AMC. “Today, Licious is amongst the fastest-growing DTC 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.”
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