[The Turning Point] Why a VC and Senior VP decided to bet on meat with Licious
Making that amazing chicken pot roast or spicy fish curry for Sunday lunch is no longer a challenge. No need to rush to the local butcher or buy fish off the street. Just order what you need from Bengaluru-based online meat brand Licious.
Launched in 2015, by Abhay Hanjura, Senior Vice President at Futurisk, a risk advisory and corporate insurance brokerage firm, and Vivek Gupta, an investor at Helion Venture Partners, Licious focusses on quality and promises the best quality meat at your doorstep.
The idea was simple: to create a meat brand that changed the perception of meat and its quality in India. The co-founders believe that meat is a product that “evokes an emotional response” and no player in the country was organising the space to cater to these cravings.
Four years down the line, Licious delivers 6,000 orders in a day and has an average basket size of Rs 700. In the first year of operations, Licious clocked a revenue of Rs 1.47 crore, which has since zoomed to Rs 180 crore at the end of FY19.
But what led the co-founders to the lightbulb moment?
The duo got the idea while chatting with one of Abhay’s friends, who had come down from the US. As they planned a meal together, Abhay’s friend nonchalantly said: “When I come to India, I turn vegetarian.”
For Abhay, this was a shock. He knew that some of the best tasting meat-based food was found in India. In fact, India consumes meat worth around $30 billion every year and the demand is only expected to grow.
However, the problem is that over 90 percent of this demand is addressed by the unorganised sector, including butchers and Sunday markets.
An online platform brought aggregation to mind. With Licious, it meant the same "broken" experience where they could not be sure of quality or storage standards.
“We had to build a farm-to-fork chain that would work within a 24-hour delivery framework,” Vivek says.
That was easier said than done. The supply chain was critical as the product was highly perishable. Vivek recalls sitting in his office at Helion and making plans to succeed by providing standardisation in a woefully unorganised market. But since then, Licious has gone on to grab a big bite of the Indian meat market.
Licious has over 300,000 customers, clocks at least 6,000 orders per day, and does 90 percent repeat business every month. It has raised over $65 million across four funding rounds and opened an automated factory in Hoskote.
Licious is looking to launch in eight cities by the end of 2019. It has also forayed into the offline space with an experience store in Gurugram. The co-founders are steadfast in their mission: to get to the meat of the matter!
This article is part of a series that highlights the turning point in a startup founder’s entrepreneurial journey.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)