“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have got any pudding if you don’t devour yer meat?,” Pink Floyd famously sang in ‘Another Brick inside the Wall’ Part II (1979). Since the dawn of time, there was tons pleasure surrounding the consumption of meat. No surprise, India is currently the second largest processed meat and chicken marketplace, growing at a CAGR of twenty-two%, in step with the global marketplace intelligence employer Mintel.
Nevertheless, meat – mainly the revel in of buying it – stays a stigmatised topic in India, hidden in black plastic luggage and procured quite unexpectedly from unhygienic slaughterhouses which are clustered in a number of the dirtiest and most crowded locations of the metropolis. Backed via era and innovation, one startup, Licious, is striving to convey meat to the limelight via uncovering the shroud that currently surrounds it.
Headquartered in Bengaluru, Licious is an internet connoisseur meat startup that, not like other ecommerce structures inside the area, is honestly primarily based on an end-to-give up version that begins proper from buying the clean produce to processing, storage and transport. In an enterprise largely dominated by using the frozen meat market, this Mayfield Capital-backed gourmet meat startup endeavours to satisfy clients with fresh, domestically-sourced meat and seafood that has been processed the usage of globally-accepted clinical strategies.
Before we delve into its exciting two and a half 12 months journey, right here are some key stats that perfectly highlight just how far Licious has come seeing that its inception in 2015:
Boasts extra than 300K clients across the county.
Handles over 5,500 orders every day.
Has solid partnerships with over 180 vendor companions, which includes person farms.
Has installation a series of processing plant life and greater than 27 delivery centres.
Present in five towns – Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi, Noida and Gurugram – with a group of workers of round 600 people.
Has attained operational wreck even in Bengaluru, goals to emerge as worthwhile in the subsequent 3 to four months.
Has raised $14 Mn+ in funding from a grab of investors along with Mayfield Capital, 3one4 Capital and Sistema, amongst others.
Meat Lovers To First Time Entrepreneurs: How Licious Was Conceived
Owned and operated by means of Delightful Gourmet Pvt. Ltd, Licious became based in July 2015 and formally released in October of the same 12 months – through Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, former company executives and self-proclaimed foodies. During his preliminary conversations with Vivek in early 2015, he talked passionately about the inherent problem relating the buying revel in of meat, the duo remembers.
He explains, “Although my preliminary hypothesis become very limited, I observed that the revel in of buying meat in India could be very unappetising. Together with Vivek, I wanted to embark on the journey of fixing this problem.”
Having come from center-elegance households and not using a earlier entrepreneurial experience, this turned into a primary step for both of them. However, quite coincidentally, each got here with a selected set of capabilities that made the process of taking off a whole lot easier. A Kashmiri Pandit from Jammu, Abhay, a former Futurisk Insurance Broking worker, has a biotechnology diploma and is also an Indian Institute of Insurance alumnus.
A qualified chartered accountant, Gupta, alternatively, joined VC firm Helion Ventures as a Finance Controller in 2006, where he architected some of purchaser deals throughout ecommerce, FMCG and different sectors, such as iD Fresh Food, BigBasket, among others.
Armed with a keen eye for scalable and executable thoughts, that's frequently typical of an experienced investor/VC, Vivek soon realised that the problem within the Indian meat enterprise turned into now not inadequate availability, however loss of trust. As a result, they commenced focussing on constructing a customer brand, in preference to just an online market.
It become around the time that the duo started enticing with Adithya Kote, who become then the Creative Head at Cafe Coffee Day Group. After going through extra than 300 name thoughts, they finally zeroed in on Licious, which is truely taken from the word “delicious”. On why they ended up with that unique name, Abhay stated, “We desired to name our enterprise something that appeals to humans’s feelings. Our goal become to be a entire meat logo.”
How Licious Is Striving To Streamline Meat Sourcing And Processing
As Gupta proudly answers, “There is regular meat after which there may be Licious meat.” Meat, in keeping with him, is a fairly commodified item. Although the founders admit they've not created any new product with Licious, their intention changed into to create a emblem around this category.
In the food area, India has visible atta getting branded, butter getting branded and milk getting branded. Today customers don’t buy groceries. Instead, they purchase brands,” averred Vivek. While this might be proper for different classes, meat as a vertical has been absolutely left out. Although meat is well cherished via maximum Indians, Abhay points out that our hypocrisy is obvious inside the reality that we conceal meat in a black thaili (packet), which by the way was what stimulated Licious’ white packaging.
Back in 2014-15, Vivek recalls, there was restrained visibility of the problems and gaps that exist even now within the meat market. To create their initial cost proposition, Hanjura and Gupta had to first engage with a whole lot of special humans from both customer and seller facets. Following were a number of the troubles that the duo uncovered all through their preliminary interactions:
Lack of meals safety and hygiene, which made the enjoy of purchasing meat extremely harrowing.
The absence of giant of focus, be it inside the manner farmers had been raising the farm animals, the way they had been fed or the way the beef itself became processed. Interestingly, up until now, there has been no such factor as the processing of the beef.
The region, even today, is largely dominated by way of neighborhood integrators who're promoting as much as ninety% of the available meat stay to butcher markets. While purchasers have been programmed to think of sparkling cuts because the high-quality form of meat, what's frequently unnoticed is the science that controls the satisfactory and “freshness” of the product.
Licious changed into, consequently, built with the imaginative and prescient to provide an opportunity that may be consumed effectively through even pregnant girls. He adds, “Ours is a bundled proposition. Because we've got built the country’s first meat emblem, there is a lot of duty on us to make sure that we have a differentiated product. And to create a differentiated product, we should be gift stop-to-cease.”
To solve the difficulty of hygiene and food protection, the connoisseur meat startup is based on globally-generic meat processing techniques. The procedure, in line with Vivek, usually entails bloodless-chain, getting older neutralisation of pH stability and herbal tenderisation, earlier than the meat can move for butchering.
Inside Licious’ Futuristic Processing Plant
In order to carry efficiency to the processing of meat, the team at Licious had to first outline their standards, in phrases of the livestock being free from antibiotics, steroids, and so forth. To that quit, the enterprise has installation checking out labs – inclusive of one in Gurugram, wherein “meat scientists” take a look at the best of the beef procured, ensuring that it is without any of these materials.
Apart from that, it has also installation its own cold-powered processing plants in Bengaluru as well as Delhi-NCR. These flora, in step with the founding duo, are run with the aid of certified food technologists and microbiologists. And the real processing relies upon on the kind in addition to the cut of meat, which can variety from curry cut to keema.
What units Licious apart from other meat retailers or e-tailers is that it leverages technology to maintain track of every step of the procedure. With the assist of algorithms, consequently, it maintains information of everything digitally for similarly monitoring.
In the fantastically fragmented and unorganised meat section, Licious, sponsored with technology, is striving to deliver performance to the sourcing and processing of produce. For example, the last-mile engagement with the customer takes place with the help of technology. Because the enterprise interacts with the customers at once via the internet site or the app, the closing-mile stock control will become greater streamlined.
This, essentially, eliminates the need to inventory the products like retail stores, which in flip reduces its lifespan. Another angle of generation use and innovation is tracing the whole inventory, from the time it's miles sourced from the providers till the time it reaches the purchaser.
When the lamb is hung within the cold room, as an example, care wishes to be taken to ensure that the beef isn't frozen suddenly. To that end, the organization is based on a era that continues the situations within the bloodless room, together with the temperature, humidity, fan speed etc. In reality, the tracking of the whole value bloodless chain is finished via technology. Furthermore, on the logistics facet, while the product leaves the plant to be delivered to the purchaser, a particular set of algorithm facilitates track the temperature at which the meat is stored inside the car.
Similarly, at the transport facet, the tech group at Licious has advanced packing containers that come prepared with temperature sensors. Along the identical line, the organisation has constructed a biodegradable bag that can preserve the temperature among zero°C and 4°C for around three to 4 hours. It presently inside the process of including these trackers to the shipping bags utilized by the transport agents.
Additionally, they have got created a technological device that allows are expecting customer behaviour beforehand of time. Based at the behavioural patterns that are accumulated over the years, the gourmand meat startup has constructed several algorithms around which can be working to remedy the trouble of stocking branded, chilled meat round the clock.
In the sparkling meat class, a number of the popular products that Licious specialises in include chook breast, bird drumsticks, goat keema, lamb chops, among others. Apart from red meat and poultry, the gourmet meat company additionally offers quite a number fish and seafood merchandise which include basa fillet, mackerel, sardine, prawns, etc. Some of the exceptional meat varieties that Licious offers on its platform consist of turkey, blue crab, quail and Atlantic salmon.
In addition to raw meat, it sells a selection of pre-marinated meat that is created with in-house recipes. Within the equipped-to-eat range, the connoisseur meat startup offers soups, pickles and spreads like tuna unfold, butter fowl spread, etc. With a shelf life of 30 days, those merchandise haven't any delivered preservatives, claims Abhay.
The connoisseur meat startup is currently inside the procedure of increasing its product category in this vertical. Another price-introduced category the Licious caters to is cold-reduce meat, which collectively with pre-marinated meat and geared up-to-eat gadgets bills for close to 20% of its overall sales.
The meat, Licious offers, comes from cage-unfastened farming. To provide an quit-to-end answer, the company began operating with farmers you bought the group. On the seafood facet, they employed people at the coast. Additionally, the founders also onboarded different partners to have a proper bloodless chain infrastructure in vicinity.
Over the closing two years, Licious has additionally solid contractual preparations with some of large institutional meat providers and integrators on the fowl side, who're educated in coping with farm animals and meat handling strategies. In general, the startup has on-boarded around 180 vendor partners, who, in flip, paintings with individual farmers.
This, the founders claim, lets in them to supply the products within one hundred twenty minutes of ordering, either through the internet site or the Licious app. They are sold throughout BigBasket, Grofers, Amazon, Daily Ninja as nicely.
Over the years, the connoisseur meat organisation has also educated farmers and farm owners on the pleasant practices of rearing and feeding farm animals. To in addition make certain the first-rate, every of the products is sourced domestically from the area in their origin.
In case of fish, hilsa, as an example, is sourced from the Brahmaputra Basin or Bangladesh. Similarly, seafood is sourced from the east in addition to the west coasts of India. Licious presently has vendor distribution networks across both coasts. Everything is sourced from the factor of beginning, meaning all the beef is clean, no longer frozen, with -day shelf lifestyles.
At gift, the sparkling meat range bureaucracy the enterprise’s center business, contributing the very best wide variety of income. Of this, around forty% to forty five% of all orders are chicken, at the same time as pork – which basically refers to goat, lamb and sheep – accounts for every other 20%. As said with the aid of Gupta, fish and seafood make contributions almost 30% of Licious’ total orders.
Why Competitive Pricing Is Not The Most Important Thing
When it involves fowl, the fine of meat depends substantially on the breed of the fowl in addition to the feed given to it. So, the manner the hen is delivered up determines, to a big volume, the quality as well as the price of its meat. Because the charge is dynamic, relying at the call for and the deliver within the marketplace, it has a tendency to create a number of stress on the again-cease surroundings to maintain pricing low.
The founders complex in addition, “On the price side, you can’t fight a huge integrator this is generating lots and lots of tonnes of meat each day. So, the way many gamers preserve the fee in test is thru move-breeding. The birds are frequently delivered up in small coops and pumped with boom promoters, antibiotics or hormones. You get unprofessional child labour to manage it. Plus, there may be no best check, no right slaughtering method.”
Licious, consequently, to begin with focussed on adhering to the precise meals safety requirements and imparting exquisite, cage-free meat. With scale, they have managed to deliver the prices of merchandise down substantially. Overall, between a guy who buys his meat from nearby suppliers and slaughterhouses and someone who receives all his meat from Licious, the overall dent inside the pocket in line with month isn't always greater than $four.6 (INR three hundred), claims Vivek.
With a lean team and an efficient procedure in location, the connoisseur meat business enterprise has managed to bring down its very own expenses, thereby enhancing its revenue and earnings even similarly. Gupta adds to that, stating, “Because I come from a finance historical past, each value is tracked efficiently. We don’t splurge as a enterprise. Even after VC funding, we were very conservative in phrases of our spendings.”
As a end result of those fee-saving measures, Licious managed to hit breakeven in Bengaluru and has truly end up worthwhile on the operational stage. Its annual turnover has increased with the aid of several-fold to $2.Three Mn (INR 15 Cr) as of August 2017. It now pursuits to interrupt even inside the subsequent three to 4 months.
Relying On Word Of Mouth To Create A Sustainable Business
Over the final two and a half years, for the reason that its inception, Licious has correctly done an upward increase trajectory that hasn’t but bogged down. It originally raised a Seed funding of approximately $1 Mn (INR 6.4 Cr) in 2015 from angel buyers consisting of Mohandas Pai, Kanwaljeet Singh and Kaushal Agarwal.
Within seven months from that, the organisation introduced a $3 Mn (INR 20 Cr) Series A fundraise from Mayfield Capital and 3one4 Capital.
Later, in May 2017, Licious secured its Series B funding of $10 Mn from Mayfield Capital, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and others. The investment was in large part used to installation bloodless chain-powered processing units in addition to transport centres in Bengaluru. Some portion of the logistics among those centres became additionally outsourced. However, the ultimate-mile logistics from the processing centres to the customer’s residence is presently executed by an in-house team of shipping boys, provides Gupta.
The organisation claims that the number of orders grew from 1,000 in July 2015 to 5,500 each day orders currently, with a mean price tag length of $8.Four (INR 550). From clocking business $461.1K (INR three Cr) inside the first year, Licious controlled to hit the $384.2K (INR 2.5 Cr) in a single month last August.
Attributing the increase to its increasing repeat consumer base, Vivek adds, “More than 70% of our enterprise has come thru word-of-mouth. Around ninety% of our month-to-month revenue nowadays comes from repeat commercial enterprise.”
To obtain that feat, the gourmet meat startup followed a very complete advertising and marketing method, starting from radio sessions, tasting classes, referral campaigns to chef tables, sampling, interactions with food bloggers, condominium activities. Apart from that, it additionally performed campaigns to increase client consciousness approximately the satisfactory of meat, unique forms of cuts, and so forth.
Adding to this, Gupta stated that that the meats/orders are vacuum-filled with the face of an actual consumer on the packaging. When requested why they chose to put their clients’ faces on the packaging, Abhay quips that the intention is to create an approachable brand that interacts and engages with customers carefully. What has helped Licious become a more self-maintaining enterprise, over time, is the reality it's miles based totally on a model that is very feasible, believes the founding duo.
Since it does not depend upon the extent of recent clients and thrives on repeat enterprise, the organisation, unlike ecommerce players or retailers, has managed to reduce down costs drastically, at the same time as additionally increasing its sales by means of leaps and boundaries.
Five Cities, Two Processing Plants, 27 Delivery Centres
Today, all merchandise bought to Bengaluru-based totally clients are processed at a 20,000 squarefeet processing plant placed. Boasting a ability to technique 10 tonnes of meat in keeping with day, the ability works in tandem with eleven shipping centres spread throughout the city.
In February, just over a 12 months after its launch, Licious elevated to any other town: Hyderabad. Most recently, in October closing year, the gourmet meat startup branched out to Delhi-NCR, armed with a cutting-edge processing unit in Gurugram and 12 delivery centres.
According to Abhay, putting in the infrastructure in Delhi turned into barely extra tough than in Bengaluru due to the fact the marketplace is a bit extra fragmented in NCR. However, despite preliminary hardships, Licious currently has round 10 shipping centres across Delhi, Noida and Gurugram.
With a body of workers of 600 humans, the startup now has a network of 27 shipping centres in the 5 cities. True to its metropolis-via-town technique, it's miles presently preparing to go live in Mumbai and Pune by using 2019.
Initial Challenges, Future Plans
No entrepreneurial journey is without challenges and barriers and it wasn’t any exclusive for Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta. According to them, the biggest task they faced initially was getting the crew right. The first six months, the duo recollects, become spent getting the right crew and the product. Similarly, on the seller facet, the principal hurdle was buying the produce at low charges.
Having overcome those barriers, however, the connoisseur meat business enterprise has controlled to grow relatively, which is clear from the expansion of its scale. When Licious become started out in Bengaluru in October 2015, Vivel recounts that, for the entire month, they offered a complete of 1 ton of meat. Today, nearly a hundred and fifty heaps of meat processed in keeping with month in the four cities.
Coming to its destiny plans, the duo found out, “We have enough money inside the bank to expand to Mumbai and Pune. But, sometime this 12 months, we can do another fundraise. It will likely be the last fundraise in our journey as a startup due to the fact we are hoping to show profitable by way of then.”
Apart from increasing its geographical presence, new product categories, recipes and catalogues are also in the works particularly inside the equipped-to-devour vertical. For that, it is now trying to companion with outlets and different brick-and-mortar carriers to boom the attain of the variety amongst clients.
In the burgeoning on-line meat transport area, Licious competes with a number of gamers which include Zappfresh, EasyMeat, Brown Apron and MeatRoot, among others. In August 2016, Pune-based totally uncooked meat etailer EasyMeat had acquired Nonveggies in an undisclosed all-coins deal.
More recently, in March 2018, Gurugram-based Zappfresh raised around $3 Mn (INR 20 Cr) in funding led through Amit Burman, Vice Chairman of Dabur India. The spherical of investment also saw the participation of SIDBI Venture Capital.
While a number of these players have stayed at the ecommerce aspect, Licious could be the startup this is aggressively leveraging technology to create an approachable, consumer-centric brand. Having already obtained a sturdy role on this area, it remains to be visible if this Bengaluru-situated connoisseur meat organization will ultimately be able to carry order and performance to the overall unorganised meat marketplace in India.