Gourmet meat start-up, Licious, run by Delightful Gourmet Pvt. Ltd, is in process and negotiating talks with Bertelsmann India Investments, a strategic investment arm of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann SE and Co, to raise the fund for expansion. Licious is trying to raise $25-$30 million from new and existing investors, said officials.
There has been growing investor interest in the on-demand food segment, which has particularly gathered enthusiasm after millions of dollars were poured by investors into companies like BigBasket, Grofers and a whole host of food brands including Veeba Food Services.
Licious last raised $10 million in its Series B funding round led by Mayfield Fund and 3one4 Capital with participation from Neoplux Technology Fund and Sistema Asia Fund in March 2017. Prior to that, it had raised seed funding, followed by Series A funds of $3 million from 3one4 Capital and Mayfield Capital.
Founded in July 2015 by Abhay Hanjura, a science graduate from Bangalore University, and Vivek Gupta, a chartered accountant, Licious delivers fresh meat to consumers in Bengaluru, NCR and Hyderabad. It runs an end-to-end business ranging from procuring fresh produce to processing, storage and delivery.
Licious mostly had to compete with traditional, local meat shops and a few organized names in Bengaluru. But competition from within the start-up world, both in Bengaluru and other cities, is likely to increase.
India’s largest online store BigBasket, which raised $300 million from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd this year, said that it will soon start selling fresh meat on its portal. The company was already selling some types of meats under its Fresho with private label but planned to create a separate category and a deeper supply chain to focus exclusively on the business.
Online meat store Zappfresh, Licious’ main competitor, also raised funds recently. In March, the company raised Rs.20 crore from Dabur India vice-chairman Amit Burman and SIDBI Venture Capital, the direct investment arm of government-owned Small Industries and Development Bank of India.
Zappfresh had said it planned to use the proceeds to expand its teams and increase capacity as it looked to expand its service to other cities. The company began by selling products in Delhi and parts of the National Capital Region (NCR).
Licious owns and operates fully automated meat processing units and delivery centres. It associates closely with farmers to ensure that it meets the supplies of meat that is ethically produced. It follows FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) hygiene standards to handle and process meat, and guidelines for the safe food are followed to make sure the meat is as fresh as possible rather than frozen.