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Licious becomes India’s first D2C unicorn with $52 Mn funding from IIFL

Direct-to-consumer meat and seafood brand Licious became India’s first unicorn from the D2C segment after the company raised $52 million led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund. Overall, it is the 29th company to attain the coveted unicorn status in 2021 alone. 

In June, the Bengaluru-based company had raised $192 million in its  Series F funding round led by Temasek and Multiples Private Equity. Brunei Investment Agency and existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India had also participated in the round.

“Even though the funding for [the] D2C sector has grown significantly, FMCG is still not considered the most attractive category,” said Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, co-founders of Licious. 

“The fresh meats and seafood sector is still largely underserved and unorganised that holds a vast opportunity of $40 billion,” they added.  

Earlier this year, Licious had allocated ESOPs to over 1,000 employees including its blue-collared workforce. This was followed by a buyback worth Rs 30 crores in August.

Licious is the 29th startup to achieve unicorn status in 2021 alone. Last month, edtech startup Vedantu, professional networking platform for blue and grey collar workers, Apna and e-sports platform Mobile Premier League had joined the club after the likes of Zetwerk, Grofers, Eruditus, CoinDCX, upGrad, MindTickle and BharatPe had raised their fresh rounds at unicorn valuation in August. 


Licious, which is available in 14 Indian cities, claimed to have achieved a growth of 500% in the last year and delivered to more than 2 million unique customers so far. The six-year-old company has built a farm-to-fork model including handling the entire back-end supply chain. Early last year, it had also forayed into the ready-to-eat segment. 

FreshToHome, also Bengaluru-based, has emerged as the biggest competitor to Licious. The company had scooped up $121 million in its Series C round in October 2020. Zapfresh, BBDaily, MeatRoot and Easymeat also compete with Licious in this space.

The annual financial result for FY20 filed by Licious shows that it recorded a 90% upsurge in its top line to Rs 131.82 crore in FY20 from Rs 69.43 crore in FY19. Its total expenses amounted to Rs 283.8 crore while losses reduced by 66.65% to Rs 146.3 crore in FY20. The company is yet to file its financials for FY21.

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