As per the provisions of law, slaughter of animals has to be done at abattoirs registered with respective state governments for ensuring quality of the meat sold in the market. However, the country’s estimated $30 billion meat market is largely unorganised, which often raises questions about the quality of meat sold in the market. Illegality creeps into the process in order to avoid the per-animal fee for slaughtering. And while most consumers do not want to dwell on how the mutton keema or the chicken in their biryani has been sourced, they would certainly prefer it to be non-contaminated, fresh and disease-free. Leveraging such a business opportunity, Bengaluru based Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta launched ‘Licious’, a fully automated gourmet meat brand, in September 2015. While Hanjura acquired a degree in biotechnology before moving into insurance risk management, Gupta, a chartered accountant, had worked with the IT sector. “We aim to serve consumers freshest meat and seafood by creating an organised fresh meat category in an industry mostly dominated by the frozen meat players,” Hanjura said. The Licious range of products is currently available in three key markets—Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Gurgaon. The company delivers fresh meat including chicken, mutton, lamb, duck, rabbit, seafood including variants such as crab and lobster, within two hours of placement of orders either through its website or app.
The products are also sold at BigBasket as well as hyperlocal shopping platforms Grofers and Daily Ninja. The start-up claims that daily orders have increased from around 1000 to around 2000 currently. “More than 90% of orders are from our repeat consumers who had the opportunity to taste our products,” said Hanjura. According to Gupta, Licious ensures that the processed meat, fish and other products are not kept in cold storage for more than four hours, so that quality is not compromised. “The distribution is managed in a manner that there is zero-inventory,” he said. Licious follows a hub and spoke model that encompasses procurement, processing, storage and delivery. “This allows us to control the supply chain and strictly maintain the freshness and quality of the product till delivery at the doorstep of the consumers,” added Hanjura.
The three hubs are located at Indira Nagar (Bengaluru), Banjara Hills (Hyderabad) and Nathupur (Gurgaon) with products procured directly from the animal rearers daily, thus keeping the cost of procurement low. At the same time, it is able to price the products 20-30% higher than that of local retailers. However, the start-up says prices are based on the net weight of products after these are cleaned rather than the gross weight, thus consumers technically do not have to pay extra. Besides, its competition is not with the frozen food sector as fresh meat is delivered to consumers the same day.
A flat delivery charge of `39 (including GST) is charged by the company. Licious had received seed investment of about $1 million initially and had subsequently raised $3 million in its Series A round of funding from Mayfield Capital and 3one4 Capital. Earlier this year, the company received its Series B funding of $10 million from Mayfield Capital, 3one4 Capita, Sistema and others. The funding would facilitate the company’s expansion into newer markets such as Delhi-NCR, Pune, Mumbai and Chennai in the next two years. From five people at the time of the launch, today the company has a strength of around 300 workers across the country.