Gourmet meat startup Licious is in talks with a host of investors including Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek to raise a total of about $80-100 million in its Series F round as it carves out its expansion plans.
“Negotiations are at a fairly advanced stage,” a source privy to the development told DealStreetAsia. “While Temasek is likely to lead the round, there’s a large amount of internal interest as well..…so it will be a mix of primary and secondary funding,” the person added.
While the exact valuation of the startup could not be ascertained, an earlier media report in January had stated that Licious is looking to garner $80 million at a valuation of $800 million.
Talks for a proposed funding have surfaced at a time when the COVID-19 crisis has given a huge boost to online meat buying, prompting startups to undertake expansion plans to go beyond metros and start operations in smaller cities.
Licious, established in 2015, is not only looking to expand its operations in India but is also gearing to foray into the Southeast Asian market, said another source on condition of anonymity. The startup is understood to be looking at markets such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, “the larger ones within the region that possess the infrastructure to support Licious’s operations,” the second source added.
When contacted, a Licious spokesperson declined to comment on the development calling it “market speculation”. Temasek, meanwhile, said: “As a matter of policy, we do not comment on market speculation and rumours.”
According to data available with Crunchbase, Licious has so far raised a total of $94.5 million in funding over 6 rounds from 16 investors including early-stage venture capital fund 3one4 Capital, Singapore-headquartered Vertex Ventures, and Bertelsmann India Investments, among others. Its latest funding was raised in December 2019.
“Vertex is already an investor in Licious and that has helped facilitate talks with Temasek….. the company may strategically get in a few more institutional investors to join the round,” said the first source. According to an earlier media report, the company was in talks with TPG, General Atlantic, PremjiInvest and Multiples Alternate Asset Management to raise the funding. However, this could not be independently verified.
Licious currently sells online meat and seafood to consumers in about 16 cities that include the four metros. The startup is also present in the ready-to-eat market, wherein it sells spreads and kebabs, among other items.
While the company primarily caters to consumers through its online channel and apps registered on food delivery platforms, it also operates some small-format, physical stores in cities such as Bengaluru and Delhi-National Capital Region.
Going forward, it also plans to earmark a part of the proposed funding to ramp up the number of its offline stories to increase its customer base and generate additional revenue streams.
According to data available with RedSeer, an Internet-focused consulting firm in India, the online meat market in the country has witnessed 2.5-3 times growth since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in the country last year. Going forward, it is expected to touch INR 460k+ Cr. by 2024 from INR 330k cr.
Apart from Licious, other meat delivery platforms operating in India include Meatigo, FreshtoHome, ZappFresh, among others.