Licious: 29th unicorn in 2021

Fresh animal protein direct-to-consumer startup Licious is India’s 29th unicorn this year after raising a series-G funding of $52 million from new investors — IIFL AMC’s tech fund and Avendus FLF (Future Leaders Fund). The company said its valuation has crossed $1 billion after this round.

With over 95% of Licious’ sales happening via their own app and site and given that startups like FirstCry and Nykaa operate more as marketplaces, Licious is the first unicorn in the growing D2C segment.

Earlier in July, Licious raised $192 million in a series-F funding round led by Temasek & Multiples, making it the highest funded company in the fresh animal protein business category then.

“Even though the funding for the D2C sector has grown significantly, FMCG is still not considered the most attractive category. We expect that Licious’ unicorn status will change that,” Licious cofounders Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura said. The founders added that they will use the funds to double down on tier-2 and -3 markets, which are growing fast in recent years and also strengthen product and tech teams.

Spread across 14 cities, the company said its annual revenue run rate is around Rs 1,000 crore, and it recorded over 500% growth during the last year. Licious has delivered to more than 2 million unique customers till date with over 90% repeat customers.

What makes this fund-raise and valuation significant for many food players in the country is that while the D2C sector saw a rapid growth and investments since last year, food-related categories were not considered the most attractive. Licious entry into the unicorn club will boost chances of other D2C startups to be able to raise funds at right valuations.

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