Bengaluru: Meat start-up Licious, run by Delightful Gourmet Pvt. Ltd, said it has raised $25 million in its series C funding round.

The round was led by Bertelsmann India Investments, the strategic investment arm of German media conglomerate Bertelsmann SE and Co, and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, along with UCLA and existing investors Mayfield India, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and InnoVen Capital.

The company, which also sells fresh fish and marinated products, said on Wednesday that it will use the fresh funds to expand to new cities, boost its value-added product portfolio and strengthen its supply chain.

“With investors existing and now sharing our conviction in building an ecosystem that challenges the status quo (in the meat sector), we are extremely bullish about our plans going ahead," said Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta, the co-founders of Licious.

They said the “funds will greatly aid us in deepening and widening our market presence and enable us to offer new products and services".

The funding announcement follows the company’s plans to enter the Mumbai and Pune markets by the end of December.

Licious claims to have a dominant presence at present across the National Capital Region, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Mint reported on 11 September that the start-up is in talks to raise between $25 million and $30 million from new and existing investors.

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.

“Direct-to-consumer fresh food start-ups are redefining how India produces, distributes and buys food. Licious, with its robust supply chain and seamless farm-to-fork model, addresses some of the biggest challenges faced by the consumer when it comes to their purchase experience and quality of product. We have strong conviction in the founding team’s vision and strategy to build Licious as the most trusted brand for fresh food and gourmet food products in India," said Pankaj Makkar, managing director of Bertelsmann India Investments.

Investec acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Licious on the transaction.

The company was founded in July 2015 by Hanjura, a science graduate from Bangalore University, and Gupta, a chartered accountant.

Licious runs an end-to-end business model, ranging from procuring fresh produce to processing, storage and delivery.

The company owns the entire back-end supply chain and claims to use stringent cold chain control to maintain the quality and freshness of each product.

It says that the largely unorganized meat and seafood sector in India is estimated to be worth $40 billion today.

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