Bengaluru: Gourmet meat start-up Licious, run by Delightful Gourmet Pvt. Ltd, is in talks to raise $25-$30 million from new and existing investors, said two people aware of the discussions.

One of the new investors the company is talking to is Bertelsmann India Investments, the people mentioned above said on condition of anonymity. Bertelsmann India Investments is the strategic investment arm of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann SE and Co.

A Licious spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by Mint. Bertelsmann did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

There has been growing investor interest in the on-demand food segment, which has particularly gathered steam after millions of dollars were poured by investors into companies like BigBasket, Grofers and a whole host of food brands including Veeba Food Services.

Licious last raised $10 million in its Series B funding round led by Mayfield Fund and 3one4 Capital with participation from Neoplux Technology Fund and Sistema Asia Fund in March last year. Before that, it had raised seed funding, followed by Series A funds of $3 million from 3one4 Capital and Mayfield Capital.

Licious runs an end-to-end business—from procuring fresh produce to processing, storage, delivery-

Licious, which delivers fresh meat to consumers, was founded in July 2015 by Abhay Hanjura, a science graduate from Bangalore University, and Vivek Gupta, a chartered accountant.

Licious caters to customers in Bengaluru, NCR and Hyderabad. It runs an end-to-end business model ranging from procuring fresh produce to processing, storage and delivery.

The gourmet meat start-up has mostly had to compete with traditional, local meat shops and a few organized names in Bengaluru. But competition from within the start-up world, both in Bengaluru and other cities, is likely to increase.

India’s largest online groceries start-up BigBasket, which raised $300 million from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd this year, said in June that it will soon start selling fresh meat on its platform.

The company was already selling some types of meats under its Fresho private label but planned to create a separate category and a deeper supply chain to focus exclusively on the business, it had said back then.

Online meat store Zappfresh, Licious’ key competitor, also raised funds recently. In March, the company raised 20 crore from Dabur India vice-chairman Amit Burman and SIDBI Venture Capital, the direct investment arm of government-owned Small Industries and Development Bank of India.

Zappfresh had said it planned to use the proceeds to expand its teams and increase capacity as it looked to expand its service to other cities. The company began by selling products in Delhi and parts of the National Capital Region (NCR).

Licious owns and operates fully automated meat processing units and delivery centres. According to the company, it works closely with farmers to ensure it supplies meat that is ethically produced. It follows FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) hygiene standards to handle and process meat, and guidelines are followed to make sure the meat is as fresh as possible rather than frozen.

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