We first met the Licious team in 2015 when it was little more than an idea to deliver the freshest meat, chicken and fish directly to Indian consumers. I had just built my thesis around changing Indian food habits – I believed (and still believe) that as Indian consumers become more affluent, they become more discerning about the quality of food at the table. This applies particularly to protein. With this background, when Subeer Monga and I met Licious for the first time we were impressed with the founders’ obsession for delivering the best product and building a movement around it. While the company was only delivering 4,000 orders per month and generating sales of less than $30,000 per month, both team members felt the company had immense disruptive potential. The founders, Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, had that rare passion to succeed with their dream and, equally importantly, the ability to execute on it. We were the only institutional investors in their first funding round back in late 2015.
Once I got onto the board, one of the first things we did was to work with the founders to try to build the Licious ‘back-story’. The company was revolutionizing the animal protein industry in India and moving consumers away from wet markets to hygienically prepared and packed products that could be traced right back to source. We felt that this was a story worth telling as it played exactly to what the Indian consumer wanted. The resulting campaign firmly fixed the company in the mind of consumers as the premier supplier of fresh animal protein in the country.
Abhay and Vivek have continually been at the forefront of the industry. They have built world-class processing plants and have consistently hired best-in-class team members to continue to grow the company.
When Covid hit, the company undertook extraordinary measures to keep its customers supplied with their favorite protein products in a safe manner. The company booked entire hotels for employees to be housed and quarantined, and delivery staff were among the first to be vaccinated. Licious’ loyal customers responded gratefully. The company has grown over 4x from March 2020. Today, this strong brand loyalty has translated into a repeat rate of almost 85%, propelling Licious’ continued growth trajectory.
While at the beginning Licious only supplied fresh meat to a small number of localities in Bengaluru, the company now has multiple categories including fresh, ready to cook, ready to eat, and dips & spreads. Licious is available in 14 cities across India and the company is considering a regional strategy and non-traditional protein products for its next phase of growth.
Vivek Gupta, Co-founder of Licious reflects: “Seven years does not seem like a long time for a start-up, but it has been a journey from our small beginnings to our current round where we have achieved unicorn status. We are very grateful to Nikhil and Mayfield for believing in us before anyone else did and mentoring us through our growth journey.”
Abhay Hanjura. Licious Co-founder adds: “Nikhil was the one always asking us the existentialist questions, making sure that we remained true to our beliefs in our journey to build the first and largest animal protein brand in India today. Our journey has hit some interesting milestones but we believe the larger story is still to be played out and we are very excited to share this journey with Mayfield.”