D2C meat and seafood brand Licious has laid off nearly 3% of its workforce citing “operational reset to sharpen the growth focus.” The move will affect 80 employees.
Licious has 3,000 employees including 650 in corporate and 2,350 in production and supply chain. While the company did not disclose the impacted functions, sources say that the exercise affected all departments.
“Licious, as a brand, sees significant scope in expanding the number of targeted households to further fuel the consumer transition from traditional markets to contemporary purchase formats. We are reprioritizing our cost outlays, considering the new growth levers. In doing this, it is unfortunate that we have to separate with some employees who have been a part of our journey,” the company said in a statement.
Licious will be providing two months’ salaries as compensation, along with the variable payment for FY24 to the impacted employees, the statement added.
Founded in 2015 by Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, Licious sells meat, seafood and ready-to-cook items across 25 cities. The sale of these products formed the majority source of revenue for Licious in FY23.
The company turned unicorn following a $52 million round led by IIFL AMC’s Late Stage Tech Fund in October 2021. During the same year, it also scooped up $192 million in Series F round. In total, it has raised $490 million to date.
Despite back-to-back funding during FY23, Licious’s operating income remained flat with mere 9.6% growth to Rs 747.7 crore from Rs 682.5 crore in FY22. It also saw a modest increase of 3.1% in its losses to Rs 500 crore in FY23 from Rs 485 crore in the previous fiscal year. Interestingly, the company had claimed that it is close to achieving profitability at the EBITDA level.
In its latest statement, however, Licious said it is tracking an annual revenue run rate currently of Rs 900 crore. The company further said it will introduce a new market expansion plan in the coming weeks.
“With significant investments in the brand, deeper backward integration and an active pursuit of automation in the supply chain, Licious will focus on expanding the market potential and reach in the next financial year. Licious has already resurrected the marketing spending this year after recasting the growth levers,” the company said.
Licious is the largest player in this space and competes with the likes of FreshToHome, Zapfresh, BBDaily, MeatRoot and Easymeat.
There has been a surge in layoffs across late-stage startups in the past couple of months. Flipkart, Swiggy, InMobi, ShareChat, Polygon, Cult.fit, and Paytm (now a public company) have already fired more than 3,500 employees collectively since December 2023.