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“For customers, meat isn’t like potatoes, which can come from anywhere,” says Vivek Gupta, co-founder of online meat delivery startup Licious. “Customers are very particular about the cut of their chicken. They want expert solutioning, and that’s where we come in,” says Gupta. 

The company recently entered the unicorn club after raising $52 million $52 million Economic Times Meat startup Licious turns unicorn after $52-million funding Read more  in a Series G funding round led by IIFL’s Late Stage Tech Fund and Avendus Capital. The fundraise comes right on the heels of a $192 million Series F round in July, which was led by Temasek Holdings.

Founded in 2015, Licious straddles a sweet spot at the intersection of two high-potential segments in India—one rapidly growing, and the other phenomenally underserved. It’s a direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce brand in a food and beverage D2C market that could be as big as $15 billion by 2025, according to a 2021 report 2021 report Avendus Avendus D2C brands report Read more by investment firm Avendus. And it’s a meat delivery startup in a country where more than 70% of the population eats meat but most of the market remains unorganised. 

Online meat delivery made up barely 0.2% of India’s overall meat-and-fish market in 2019, according to a report by research firm RedSeer. The market is expected to grow expected to grow RedSeer Where Is The Online Meat Market Headed? Read more  at a compounded annual growth rate of 12-15% till 2024. Covid has served as a strong tailwind for the segment—online meat players saw a 10-15% increase in average revenue per user (ARPU) between January 2020 and December 2020. 

Keenly aware of the staggering potential for growth, Licious is now aiming to become a one-stop-shop for all things meat. It’s doubling down on its ready-to-eat (RTE) and ready-to-cook (RTC) product line, which it launched in 2019. Already, the RTE-RTC business accounts for 20% of Licious’ overall revenue. 

Meanwhile, it’s also chasing the Holy Grail of all D2C businesses—the omnichannel play. The company piloted this with two offline “experience centres” in 2019—one in Bengaluru and the other in Gurugram. Now, it plans to go the whole hog, launching a “sizeable” number of offline stores across the country, starting with Bengaluru and Delhi by December, according to a spokesperson from Licious. The company declined to say how many stores it plans to open. 


Bhumika Khatri

Bhumika covers e-commerce, consumer internet, and everything startup for The Ken in Delhi. In her previous stint at Inc42, she spent two and a half years writing about a breadth of startups and topics. A commerce graduate, Bhumika completed her postgraduate in journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bengaluru. You can reach her at [email protected]

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