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India’s Licious raises $192 million for international expansion

Licious, a Bangalore-based startup that sells fresh meat and seafood online, has raised $192 million in a new financing round as it looks to expand its footprint beyond the South Asian market.

The new round — a Series F — was led by Singapore’s investment firm Temasek and Multiples Private Equity. The round, which brings the six-year-old Indian firm’s to-date raise to over $285 million, values the startup at more than $650 million (according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter), up from $285 million in December 2019 Series E funding.

Existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Growth Fund, and Vertex Ventures also participated in the new round, and some early investors sold some of their stakes.

Licious operates an eponymous e-commerce platform where it sells meat and seafood in over a dozen Indian cities. The startup has built a supply chain network across several Indian cities to be able to procure meat and seafood, keep them fresh, and deliver within hours of the order.

In recent months, the startup says it has accelerated its growth as people increase their protein consumption in a bid to improve their immunity.

It didn’t disclose exact figures, but said the startup has seen a 500% growth in the past 12 months and delivered to more than 2 million unique customers.

“This is just the beginning in our pursuit of building an exemplary and iconic tech-led D2C (direct-to-consumer) brand,” said Vivek Gupta and Abhay Hanjura in a joint statement Friday.

According to industry estimates, India’s online meat market is worth over $4.4 billion and has grown by over 2.5x since the pandemic hit last year.

Licious, which competes with FreshToHome, plans to deploy the fresh capital to expand to “multiple geographies,” it said, without identifying any market. The startup is also making investments to broaden its tech and supply chain networks, it said.

The startup’s co-founders have “revolutionised the purchase of poultry, seafood and meat in the country delighting customers with their promise of quality, freshness and timely delivery,” said Sridhar Sankararaman, MD, Multiples.

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