Meat startup Licious becomes latest India unicorn after raising US$52m in latest funding round

INDIA –  Licious, a direct-to-consumer fresh meat and seafood brand, is the latest Indian food startup to achieve the highly sought-after Unicorn status after raising US$52 million in a Series G funding round. 

The round, led by IIFL’s Late Stage Tech Fund and Avendus, takes the company to a post-money valuation of US$1.05 billion, making it the latest entrant to the coveted unicorn club of companies having more than a billion dollars in valuation. 
 
Lucious cofounder Vivek Gupta,  told reporters in an interview that the startup planned to use the recently acquired funds to grow its offline business, further its ready to eat product portfolio and expand its geographic footprint. 

“We will opportunistically look at growing inorganically by acquiring smaller businesses in the ancillary segments and business areas,” Gupta added. 
 
In July this year, the company raised US$192 million as part of its Series F round, led by the Singapore government’s investment company Temasek, and Multiples Private Equity, valuing it at US$650 million.  

It counts funds such as Brunei Investment Agency, 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India also as its investors. 

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According to Gupta, the company’s current revenue run rate stands at Rs 1,000 crore (US$90 million) and expects growth from the current funding to help it close the financial year at Rs 1,500 crore (US$135 million).  

According to the company, 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 as more consumers were forced to buy their supplies online in an attempt to avoid crowds associated with in-store buying. 

Licious took advantage of the online purchasing trend, disrupting the meat and seafood category which has largely been unorganized and underserved and as a result achieving astronomical growth. 

Licious’ focus on product quality, freshness and innovation has also created a strong brand making them the undisputed category leader.  
 
“The fresh meats and seafood sector is still largely underserved and unorganised that holds a vast opportunity of US$40 billion,” said Abhay Hanjura, cofounder, Licious. 

“We will continue to build the category through investments in technology for supply chain excellence, product innovation, talent, and vendor partner upgrades.” 

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