Freshwater fish and seafood supply chain platform Captain Fresh has raised $2.3 million in pre-series A round of funding led by Ankur Capital with participation from Incubate Fund India and Silicon Valley based angel investors.
Captain Fresh leverages technology to consistently deliver reliable, trustworthy and high-quality freshwater fish and seafood to retailers across all key formats. The fundraise will be used to invest in technologies like computer vision, IoT, bots, data analytics to digitize and drive efficiencies across the supply chain. Additionally, it will expand to new cities and add key hires to build a mission driven world-class team.
The brand is building a trusted seafood supply chain by bringing in intelligence for superior demand-supply matching, enabling e-auctions for sourcing, standardizing supplies and maintaining digital traceability systems. While the majority of Indians prefer to eat fresh meat and seafood, the current supply chain fails to consistently provide the desired basket of products that offer the required quality at reasonable prices. The brand is building a model to address all these needs of retailers by leveraging technology; the platform also helps in guaranteeing suppliers timely payments, thereby increasing their earnings potential.
The brand works with leading brands in the modern trade channel as well as the pioneers in the online meat and seafood space. The company received seed investments from Nekkanti Group and Sandhya Aqua, leading exporters of frozen shrimp, who saw potential in the domestic opportunity. It began operations in Bengaluru, currently serving more than 120 retail businesses across all formats. Since then, it has expanded its operations to other cities.
Captain Fresh was founded in April 2019 by Utham Gowda, an ex-investment banker, who is passionate about the domestic opportunity. Utham has closely worked in the seafood sector since 2015 including a senior leadership stint with a seafood export major. The senior leadership team also comes with deep domain expertise in the online seafood and meat delivery space.
Utham Gowda, Founder, Captain Fresh, said, “We started with a simple vision to build a fresh fish and seafood platform that the ecosystem could completely trust and rely on for their daily needs. We want to nurture our retail partners’ businesses by providing full availability, range and high-quality fresh supplies on a daily basis. For suppliers, we want to provide the comfort of working with a trustworthy partner who consistently delivers on payment promises. Our traction and positive customer feedback in the last 12 months have validated the real need for what we are building. It has boosted our confidence in playing an active and critical role in uplifting the overall ecosystem.”
Krishnan Neelakantan, Partner at Ankur Capital, added, “With a billion aspiring Indians seeking to up the protein in their diet, we see a huge latent demand for fresh fish and seafood, already a $12 billion market, waiting to be unlocked. We believe Captain Fresh’s tech-driven model, which seeks to transform the supply chain can do just that. In Utham and his team, we see a great combination of vision, domain insights and passion to champion this change and build a large, valuable company.”
Nao Murakami, Founder and General Partner at Incubate Fund India said, “Fresh fish and seafood is an inefficient and unorganized industry, with space for technology and operation excellence to make a positive impact. As Incubate Fund is a Japanese-origin fund, we can bring best practices in supply chain innovations and support potential collaborations between Captain Fresh and Japanese companies. We are excited to join Captain Fresh’s journey.”
The steadily rising appetite for seafood has reflected in price escalation of 15 percent per year for the last several years. Supply chain inefficiencies between source to plate lead to an estimated value erosion of 30-50 percent annually in the fresh fish and seafood industry. Using technology, supply chain inefficiencies can be smoothened, creating opportunities for suppliers and retailers and unlocking latent demand in the domestic market.