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Singapore’s Vertex Growth leads USD 30 million round in Indian O2O meat startup Licious (Update)

Vertex Growth raised USD 290 million in September this year.

Bengaluru-based online fresh meat and seafood startup Licious said Monday it has raised USD 30 million in its Series E round led by Singaporean venture fund Vertex Growth Fund, with participation from existing backers including 3one4 Capital, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, Bertelsmann India Investments, and Sistema Asia Fund.

The fresh funds will be used to expand its presence which currently spans across seven cities, the company said in a statement. The company said it will launch new products including ready-to-eat packaged food brands. Local media Economic Times citing sources said the latest funding valued the company at USD 250 to 300 million.

In a statement, Licious founders Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta said 92% of the Indian meat and seafood industry, specifically the production and selling arm, is still unorganized, indicating the huge, underserved consumers, as well as the opportunity this sector offers. “The traditional meat and seafood industry are in dire need of tech intervention, quality standardization, and a skilled talent pool,” Licious founders said in a statement.

The four-year-old company said it currently has 2,000 employees and targets USD 140 million revenue by 2023. In the financial year 2019, Licious clocked a revenue of USD 25 million. The company said it processes over 17,000 orders a day. Earlier this year, Licious started experimenting with its online-to-offline (O2O) model with the first experience center in Gurugram, a satellite city of New Delhi.

Vertex Growth Fund is part of a global network of venture capital funds anchored by Vertex Holdings, the venture capital arm of Singapore’s governmental investment vehicle Temasek. Also part of the Vertex network, Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India separately raised USD 305 million for its fourth fund in September this year. The fund invests in Indian and Southeast Asian technology companies and its Indian bets include home service marketplace Housejoy, social commerce company GlowRoad, and online travel agency Yatra that went public in 2016, among others.

Temasek, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has been bullish about the India market in the past few years. In a July 2018 report, Temasek Holdings said its India portfolio stood at USD 10 billion.

“With its rapidly digitizing economy and the population’s income that grows to drive consumption, we are positive about India’s long-term growth potential. India remains an attractive market for us from a demographic perspective of rising affluence,” a Temasek spokesperson told KrASIA.

(Corrections at 16:10 PM IST: An earlier version of the story inadvertently said “Vertex Venture” invested in Licious. It has been correctly changed to “Vertex Growth”. Further changes have been reflected in the copy, accordingly. The name of “Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India” has also been added in the list of existing backers who invested in Licious.)