Staying Ahead Of The Curve
‘Don’t shy away from challenging the status quo, and don’t fear failure because it is as important as success’
Vivek Gupta is the co-founder of Licious, one of India’s fastest growing fresh meat and seafood brands with an employee strength of more than 650 members across different disciplines and functions. Licious, which was founded in July 2015 by Gupta and Abhay Hanjura, is built on the farm-to-fork model. The company owns the entire back-end supply chain, powered by top-of-the-shelf processing facilities along with stringent cold chain control to scientifically maintain the quality and freshness of each product that reaches the end user. Gupta sensed a huge business opportunity in the $40-billion meat market, which remained unorganised for decades and had not witnessed disruption. Licious started with a vision to build India’s most loved meat brand by offering premium quality meat products.
In the first year, the company focussed towards setting up its operations only in Bengaluru where they built the end-to-end supply chain and meat processing facility while working with farmers. They also set up the entire cold chain, which powered the delivery network.
Some of the critical beliefs and decisions that have helped Gupta bring definitive impact at Licious include: Inculcating data sensitivity to drive decision making over and above anecdotal experience, evangelising the importance of moving fast in the face of all odds and willingness to invest in high quality talent at an early stage.
Gupta oversees various functions in the company including marketing, technology, finance, delivery operations and business expansion.
Despite popular belief, that India is a vegetarian country, data suggests over 70 per cent of the population are meat eaters. And given the size of the meat-eating population, it remains one of the most underserved, and poorly fragmented market. In an economy where commodities such as milk, masalas, flour and even water is branded, the most susceptible category that poses the highest food safety risk remains ignored.
Gupta and his team, inspired by the opportunity, are working towards building a transformative consumer venture impacting both the consumer and the ecosystem, equally. They are also in cognizance of the fact that long term consumer value can only be created with a strong network of long-term partners which in Licious’ case are its partner farmers. The company is working towards creating mainstream job opportunities in what was previously an ostracised industry. By giving assured fair salaries, social security, insurance and performance incentives, Licious is working towards giving butchers the recognition they deserve and equal opportunity to grow. Similarly, the company is bringing a big difference to the life of small farming and fishing communities by helping them eliminate the exploitative middlemen chain and getting a fair price for their produce, on time.
As the business matures from processing 1 tonne of meat per month, to more than 12 tonne per day, the challenge Licious faces is to keep quality intact even with scale. Gupta and his team have stayed ahead of the curve by having their eyes and ears close to the ground and staying obsessed with quality and the entire value chain.
Speaking on being included in the BW 40 Under 40, Gupta added that it is extremely encouraging and defining for him both personally and professionally and valued with utmost humility.
“Don’t shy away from challenging the status-quo, and don’t fear failure because it is as important as success,” says Gupta in his message to fellow business leaders. Gupta resonates with something Azim Premji had once said which is apt for all young entrepreneurs: “If people are not laughing at your dreams you are not dreaming big enough.”