Sistema Asia Fund participates in funding round for Indian gourmet meat startup Licious


Sistema Asia Fund participates in funding round for Indian gourmet meat startup Licious

Sistema Asia Fund (“SAF”) participated in the Series D funding round for Licious, an Indian online gourmet meat startup headquartered in Bengaluru, capital of India's southern Karnataka state, known as the center of India's high-tech industry. The round was led by one of Japan’s largest public listed conglomerates, Nichirei Corp, along with existing investors 3one4 Capital, Bertelsmann India Investments, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, UCLA.  Sistema Asia Fund, led by Managing Partner Andrey Terebenin, specializes in investments in mid-stage high-tech companies in India and Southeast Asia. SAF has consistently backed Licious through its rapid growth, supported by strong industry performance and outlook. 

Founded in 2015 by Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, Licious, unlike other platforms on the market, operates on an end-to-end model that starts right from procuring the fresh produce to processing, storage and delivery. In an industry largely dominated by the frozen meat market, Licious made a bet on fresh, locally-sourced meat and seafood that has been processed using globally-accepted scientific techniques.

Licious operates in three major cities in India - NCR (covers Delhi, Gurgaon & Noida), Bengaluru and Hyderabad, runs 27 delivery centres and plans to launch another 55 in the next 3 years. The company plans to expand to seven new cities in 2019, including Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. The latest capital infusion will be used to further strengthen market presence and the value-added product portfolio and supply chain.

The company’s success is backed by strong market performance in both the e-commerce and meat sectors. Data by CRISIL suggests that the country’s e-commerce industry, currently at USD 53 bn in annual revenue, is expected to exceed USD 100 bn by 2020, and it’s the food and grocery segment that is driving the growth. Revenue generated by grocery-related ventures alone is expected to reach USD 1.5 bn by 2020 (CAGR of over 65% between fiscal 2017 and 2020). CRISIL expects that by 2019, online grocery retailers will comprise up to 7% of all online retailers in terms of revenueup from roughly 4% in 2017).

According to company data, the Indian market for meat is estimated at USD 31 bn, but could reach USD 65 bn by 2022, if a 20% CAGR is maintained. In their interview with FnB News magazine, Licious founders Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta said 90% of meat in India was handled by an unorganised market. Licious is the first and only company to take an approach to create a brand in this space by taking responsibility of organizing farms, creating infrastructure and bringing the right product to consumer’s doorstep. 

This isn’t SAF’s first investment into Licious: the fund previously participated in the company’s Series B and C funding rounds (March 2017 and September 2018) alongside Bertelsmann, UCLA Investment Company, Vertex Ventures (Series C) and 3one4 Capital, Mayfield Fund (Series B).

Activities of SAF are overseen by Vsevolod Rozanov, Chairman of the Board at Sistema Asia Fund and Managing Partner at Sistema. The Fund focuses primarily on consumer tech (e-commerce, healthcare, transport, media, finance and education) and enterprise tech (IoT, VR/AR, platform solutions, big data, AI and machine learning). Several key investment projects include Seclore (Enterprise Digital Rights Management system developer), Qwikcilver (supplier of corporate cloud software in the segment of gift cards and loyalty programmes), Mobikon (marketing platform for restaurants), (India's biggest online pharmacy) and HealthifyMe (India's biggest digital fitness platform).