Matrix-backed Captain Fresh Raises $12 Mn In Series A Round Led By Accel

The company will continue to make deeper investments on supply-side tech, expand distribution globally and continue to invest in team expansion

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Captain Fresh, a tech-enabled B2B seafood marketplace that's focused on aggregating the fragmented retail demand across the country and linking them to the small fishermen and farmers throughout the Indian coast, announced on Monday that it has raised $12 million in a Series A investment round led by Accel, along with the participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India, Ankur Capital, as well as, Incubate Fund. Marquee angel investors such as Souvik Sengupta (Infra.Market), Rajesh Yabaji (BlackBuck), Revant Bhate (Mosiac Wellness), Ramakanth Sharma (Livspace), Amrish Rau (PayU), Jitendra Gupta (Jupiter), Asish Mohapatra and Ruchi Kalra (OfBusiness) also participated in this round.


"After spending close to 5 years covering the international seafood industry, I was intrigued by the level of supply deficiency in the trade. Clearly, I saw a slam dunk opportunity in creating an India-based supplier-first commerce platform given its position amongst the top 3 fish and seafood producers, globally. Along the way, we realized the imminent need for a full-stack approach as several microstructures within this market are completely broken, opaque and unreliable. Over the last 24 odd months, we have iterated and fine-tuned the playbook for efficiently aggregating demand and supply, validated by a 10x growth spurt through the pandemic. We are thrilled to find ourselves at this unique intersection of a large unsolved problem, a highly capital-efficient business model and backed by a high-quality investor set. We are privileged to have Accel join Matrix, Ankur, Incubate, ADB Ventures, and others on our captable. This funding event is a vote of confidence for us to continue to commit serious resources behind making 'seafood product' the true captain of our ship," said Utham Gowda, chief executive officer and founder, Captain Fresh.

Founded in 2019 by Utham Gowda, Captain Fresh is attempting to transform the complex fish and seafood supply chain, akin to the way National Stock Exchange revolutionized stock trading in the early 1990s which involved papers, phone calls, high counterparty risks with unreliable, complicated, and opaque trading methods. This is one of the oldest trades known to humanity, yet with a very high degree of unsolved problems. Captain Fresh aims to solve this by driving predictability through a unique combination of a digital commerce platform and a robust and dynamic physical fulfillment layer to consistently deliver fair, efficient, and transparent purchase experiences for retailers across multiple formats.

"The fresh fish and seafood market in India is characterized by a huge supply-demand mismatch, varied quality standards, fragmented channels, and numerous other issues. Captain Fresh is targeting this fragmented supply base, aggregating the supply through technology, using a scale, and technology to standardize the quality, and serving retailers by giving better quality products, higher fill rate, and predictable delivery. We believe this opportunity can be massive and the team has executed phenomenally from an early stage," stated Barath Shankar Subramanian, partner, Accel.

The company is also looking to play a catalytic role in reforming the USD 400B global fish and seafood trade by laying foundation blocks for efficient market microstructures and practices. It is leveraging deep technologies to smoothen the high amount of friction in the traditional trade and optimize the value accrued to the supply communities.

"We are very pleased to see the rapid progress that Captain Fresh has made since our initial investment. The market opportunity in fresh fish and seafood is huge. With a stronger team and key elements of tech being built out, we are excited about the journey ahead for Captain Fresh as it sets out to build a pioneering commerce platform in this space," shared Krishnan Neelakantan, partner, Ankur Capital.

Captain Fresh has grown tenfold over the last 18 months and today it works with more than 600 businesses across various retail formats in more than 10 Indian cities. They have also built best-in-class procurement tech and seafood-focused supply chain which helps them deliver more than 20,000 kilograms of fresh supplies across 50 species sourced from more than 30 different coasts on an everyday basis.

"Captain Fresh aims to disrupt the $400 billion global fresh fish and seafood market by creating a tech-enabled B2B supply chain that is able to deliver better quality at competitive prices with a focus on reduction in wastage. The company has grown rapidly over the last 12 months and we believe that they are uniquely positioned to scale profitably across domestic and international markets as a consequence of their tech-driven sourcing and supply chain capabilities. We welcome Accel to the partnership and look forward to the next phase of growth," added Sudipto Sannigrahi, vice president, Matrix India.

This transaction marks the third funding for the company in a span of eight months, on the back of high growth momentum. With this infusion of capital, Captain Fresh will continue to make deeper investments in supply-side tech, expand distribution globally and continue to invest behind their team. More recently, Abhishek Sudhakar and Venugopal Annamaneni have joined the leadership team to further strengthen their continued commitment to building a world-class team to take on the opportunity of this scale.