2021-07-19

Matrix-backed Captain Fresh raises $12M in a series A investment round led by Accel

 

19th July 2021. Bengaluru: 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 today that it has raised $12M 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 Asish Mohapatra and Ruchi Kalra (OfBusiness), Jitendra Gupta (Jupiter), Souvik Sengupta (Infra.Market), Rajesh Yabaji (BlackBuck), Revant Bhate (Mosaic Wellness), Ramakanth Sharma (Livspace), and Amrish Rau (PayU), also participated in this round.
 
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 for this by driving predictability through a unique combination of a digital commerce platform and a robust and dynamic physical fulfilment layer to consistently deliver fair, efficient and transparent purchase experiences for retailers across multiple formats.
 
The company is also looking to play a catalytic role in reforming the $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.
 
Captain Fresh has grown 10x 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 focussed supply chain which helps them deliver more than 20,000Kgs of fresh supplies across 50+ species sourced from more than 30 different coasts on an everyday basis. The tech-enabled supply chain combined with demand-supply matching capabilities has enabled the company to continue to have profitable economics and extremely low wastage while growing rapidly.
 
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 on supply-side tech, expand distribution globally and continue to invest behind their team. More recently, Abhishek Sudhakar (ex-Senior Director Myntra) and Venugopal Annamaneni (ex-Head of Engineering Livspace) 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.
 
Utham Gowda, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Captain Fresh, comments on securing the new investment, "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'.”

Barath Shankar Subramanian, Partner, Accel said“The fresh fish and seafood market in India is characterised 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 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.”
 
Krishnan Neelakantan, Partner at Ankur Capital, said, “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.”
 
Sudipto Sannigrahi, Vice President, Matrix India, said, “Captain Fresh aims to disrupt the  $400B 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!”

About Captain Fresh:
Captain Fresh is a farm to retail (B2R) platform for seafood and freshwater fishes. It procures fishes/seafood directly from the agents/farmers, and supplies to GT, MT and online channels providing superior quality fishes at competitive pricing compared to unorganised channels. Further information is available at https://www.captainfresh.in/. You can get in touch with the team at hello@captainfresh.in.
 
About Matrix Partners India:
Matrix Partners India is an investment firm with approximately $1 billion under management. Founded in 2006, the firm invests in companies targeting the Indian consumer and enterprise market at the seed, early, and early growth stages. Matrix India has invested in several market-leading companies such as Ola (mobility), Dailyhunt (mobile local language platform), Razorpay (payments), Five Star Business Finance (SME lending), OfBusiness (credit led B2B marketplace), Ola Electric (electric vehicles), Stanza Living (tech-enabled student housing platform), OneCard (mobile-first credit card), Country Delight (D2C dairy & fresh foods brand), DealShare (social commerce platform), Bijnis (digital B2B marketplace), Mswipe (mobile POS) and Cloudnine Hospitals (leading chain of maternity hospitals) among others. Matrix India has advisory offices in Bangalore, Delhi, and Mumbai. Matrix Partners has a global network of funds investing in the US, China, and India, with approximately $5 billion under management. Further information is available at  www.matrixpartners.in. To know more about our investment philosophy & ideologies, check out the #MatrixMoments podcast series.