“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” Leaving a high-paying, comfortable corporate job to start something on your own takes guts. It is risky and takes a lot from you. Abhay Hanjura and Vivek Gupta took the plunge and did a great job by starting a meat brand, and taking their company’s turnover to Rs 15 crore in just two years.
Abhay Hanjura moved to Bangalore pursue his graduation in biotechnology in genetics in 2004. He went on to study business management course and got himself a career in banking, financial services and insurance domain. Vivek Gupta, on the other hand, was a CA, who came to Bangalore to work for Tavant Technologies, from there he went on to work at VC firm Helion Ventures.
Abhay was at Futurisk, when he met Vivek as Helion was their client. Both came from humbling backgrounds, being born and brought up in middle class families and had well-paying jobs. Run by the main company Delightful Gourmet Pvt. Ltd., Licious started its operations in July 2015, in Bengaluru.
Being a die-hard meat lover, it was Abhay, who came up with the idea. Even though Vivek didn’t know much about it, he wasn’t inclined to remain stuck with his job and wanted to start something of his own.
It wasn’t an easy decision to leave a well-settled life and begin struggling in entrepreneurship. Vivek remembers how he was a little scared during the initial days as he had a wife and two kids to support. Even Abhay had a tough time persuading his Kashmiri Pandit parents to see his point of view and upcoming benefits. Soon, they convinced everyone that they could turn this around for themselves.
After some initial research, Abhay found out people were willing to pay a good amount for quality meat. After studying and researching for a couple of months, the duo started delivery of meat in a couple of months through online means. Started with a team of five, Licious launched their first sale in Bengaluru. Right about then, they raised half a million dollars from investors such as Helion Ventures founder Kanwaljit Singh, former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, and Amadeus Capital founder Kaushal Agarwal.
Around 70-75 percent of new customer acquisition for Licious came through word of mouth. Licious’ aim was clear and — to deliver good quality meat to customer in a hygienic way with proper storage and delivery mechanism. They even went to villages and farms around Bengaluru to understand the quality of lamb meat and directly work with the farmers.
In December 2015, they raised Series A funding of 3.5 million USD from Mayfield Advisors. What started with 50 lakhs as initial investment from the two have raised funds up to the tune of 14 million USD, till date. Their plant in Hennur churns out 10 tons of meat everyday and have 11 outlets all over the city. Licious currently has 330 employees now and have started operations in Hyderabad. With many more products in their line-up, it won’t be much of a surprise if they cross Rs 25 crore a year in sales in the next five years.