Prosus Ventures And Tiger Global Lead R842 Million Series B Investment In Captain Fresh

Captain Fresh
Seafood. Photo by Julia Khalimova from Pexels

Captain Fresh, a tech-enabled B2B seafood marketplace, announced today that it has raised $40 million or R842 million in a Series B investment round co-led by Tiger Global and Prosus Ventures.

Existing investors Matrix Partners India, Accel India, Ankur Capital, and Incubate Fund have also participated in the round.

“For centuries, the fish and seafood industry has stayed the same with very little innovation and we have a unique opportunity to revolutionise the sector utilising technology,” Utham Gowda, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Captain Fresh.

“We are thrilled to have investors like Tiger, Prosus Ventures, Accel and Matrix believe in us, following early backers Ankur Capital and Incubate Fund, which clearly emboldens our vision.

“We are aggressively expanding our aspirations across all dimensions – products, value chain presence, and markets – to create an institution that could define our generation.”

Founded in 2019 by Utham Gowda, Captain Fresh has rapidly emerged as a preferred monetisation partner for supplier communities across the Indian coast. This has been made possible by a tech-enabled distribution network that spans 20 cities and more than 2,000 retail businesses.

Captain Fresh has become a reliable alternative to the wholesale wet markets in these cities for suppliers and B2B customers. The company’s deep tech layer enables a seamless process when carrying out traditional trade and helps optimise the value delivered to the supply communities.

“We are thrilled to partner with Captain Fresh in their goal to transform a highly fragmented and inefficient industry. The team has demonstrated impressive execution and strong unit economics,” Ashutosh Sharma, Head of Investments, India, Prosus Ventures, said.

“We are confident about their ability to utilise technology to solve efficiency and scalability challenges and at the same time make a very positive impact on a large number of fishermen in the country.”

Captain Fresh empowers small fishermen and farmers through its platform that aggregates the fragmented retail demand from across the country. Through this capital infusion, the company plans to build tech interventions and deeper tech integrations across the supply and demand-side network, such as a real-time trading marketplace, pricing and quality standardisation using AI, as well as the application of robotic automation to move massive volumes with precision. Captain Fresh will also utilise the funds towards expanding its team and distribution network across geographies.

“Captain Fresh, which operates in the harvest-to-retail business for fresh fish and seafood, has exhibited an impressive growth with positive unit economics,”  said Barath Shankar Subramanian, Partner, Accel.

“It has increased its penetration in multiple geographies across India through expansion of channels (to include B2R, B2B2C, B2B), by leveraging technology, aggregating supply and building a demand-side network through various supply chain initiatives like grading and payload optimisation.

“We are excited to deepen our partnership with Captain Fresh as they hire stellar talent, and expand both in India and globally.”

Captain Fresh has demonstrated 6x growth in the last 12 months and is transforming retail across B2R, B2B and B2B2C segments. Its reseller segment (B2B2C) has demonstrated an increase of 20x within just three months of launch, retailing about 1.2M kgs of fish and seafood every month. Its positive unit economics, coupled with industry-leading gross margins, high frequency and rapid expansion makes it the leading fish & seafood marketplace in India.

“Captain Fresh has experienced exponential growth over the last 12 months and this fundraising is a testament to their supply first tech-enabled business model that has helped them scale rapidly while improving economics by optimising for losses and dump in the seafood supply chain,” said Sudipto Sannigrahi, Principal, Matrix India.

“We are excited to be strengthening our partnership with Utham, and to continue supporting him on this journey of transforming the global seafood supply chain. We welcome Tiger Global and Prosus to the partnership and look forward to the journey ahead.”

Elluminate Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Captain Fresh on this transaction.

Globally, fish and seafood demand is estimated to be $400B and represents one of the fastest-growing protein segments with an ever-expanding supply gap. India has the potential to be a global superpower in the fish and seafood industry – it already ranks second in freshwater fish production and third in marine fish production.

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