Bangalore-based seafood marketplace start-up Captain Fresh will be looking at a major expansion in the next two to three years after receiving a $2.3 million pre-series funding recently, its founder and chief executive officer said.
The funding round, led by Ankur Capital, also saw participation of Incubate Fund India and Silicon Valley-based angel investors.
“The beginning of the funding paves the way for us to pursue the big picture that we have in our mind. We will now be looking at touching 100 tonnes per day output over a period of next 24-36 months,” Utham Gowda told indoasiancommodities.com in an interview.
Gowda, an ex-investment banker, started the company in April 2019 and had primarily focused on the Bangalore market so far.
“We did a business of Rs 15 crore in the first year. And we have already crossed that figure in the current fiscal with our expanding operations. Currently, we are clocking 200-220 tonnes of seafood sales in Bangalore every month and made a small beginning in Hyderabad. In next 6-7 months, we will also commence operations in Pune and Mumbai,” he said, while explaining the broader elements of the expansion plans in the near run.
Captain Fresh, according to Gowda, is not just an online marketplace acting as the intermediary between the buyers and sellers, but also running logistics services to support its own operations as well as its partners in the value chain.
“This is important since consumers demand fresh seafood items and to achieve that you need to be in command of cold chain and other back-end functions. Plus, we are offering a basket of multi-variety fish products and it is a clear USP for us as most of the other players are single product specialists. It has helped us to align quickly with modern retail players,” he said.
Commenting on the size of the domestic seafood market, Gowda said it was mammoth, but largely ignored with major focus being on exports that has grown significantly in the last ten years.
“Domestic seafood market is huge and according to an estimate, it is in the range of over Rs 1 lakh crore annually. But because of poor supply chain management systems, 30-50 percent of the products meant for domestic market get wasted. This in turn escalates the price of the available products for the consumers. With the use of technology and other advanced tools, the entire operational value chain of seafood can be significantly improved for the benefit of all stakeholders especially consumers and this is what Captain Fresh intends to do,” Gowda pointed out.
Krishnn Neelkantan, Partner at Ankur Capital, had earlier said while announcing the fund infusion decision in Captain Fresh that he saw a huge latent demand for fresh fish and seafood with a billion aspiring Indians seeking to up the protein in their diet.