Licious, operated by Delightful Gourmet Pvt. Ltd became the first direct-to-consumer meat startup to achieve unicorn status with a $52 million investment from IIFL Asset Management. In 2021 it is the 29th Indian startup to enter the coveted Unicorn club.
“The fresh meats and seafood sector are 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 startups that can join hands in fully harnessing the potential that the industry has to offer,” Licious co-founders Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura said in a statement.
Earlier, Licious had raised $192 million at a $650 million valuation led by Temasek Holdings and Multiples Private Equity.
The secret sauce to Licious’ meat
Founded in 2015, Licious is the brainchild of Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura. The D2C e-commerce platform sells seafood and fresh meat in multiple Indian cities. The company focuses on providing high-quality, hygienically processed meat to consumers at their doorstep.
It currently operates five processing centers, around 90 delivery centers, and a robust hyperlocal distribution network for delivering the products to the buyers.
The startup is disrupting the local meat market that is primarily unorganized and lacks basic operational standards like a proper storage facility and operates in an unhygienic condition, posing health risks for workers and consumers.
The Quality Game
Due to the lack of proper cold storages and the taboo associated with the meat industry, India ensured that the sector remained unorganized and those home deliveries remained limited to local butcher shops.
However, several companies armed with investor money have been investing in developing better supply chains for perishable goods in recent years. Yet, these companies focused on packaged meat or took a day or two to deliver fresh meat. Licious went a step ahead with the zero-inventory model to provide fresh meat within a few hours.
The Pandemic Impetus
The pandemic has been a boon for these companies as more consumers came on board. Apart from convenience, strict hygiene helped the company increase its user base. According to reports, the company now fulfills more than 10 lakh orders each month, with 90 percent client retention.
According to publicly available data, the company had clocked in INR 138 crore in revenues with expenses of INR 283 crore in the year ended 31 March 2020. The company recently announced that it had a revenue run rate of INR 1000 crore.