At Accel, we have always looked for founders who are passionate about solving hard problems in seemingly under-the-radar sectors. Utham is one of these founders. For the last 5 years, Utham has lived and breathed fish! His deep passion in reshaping a highly unorganized industry to drive better outcomes for fishermen, farmers and consumers has stood out from our very first meeting. While we have tracked and engaged with Utham over the last year, we are excited to formally partner with Captain Fresh through our Series A investment.
Captain Fresh continues our track record of backing breakout B2B companies focused on organizing fragmented supply chains. Over the last decade, we have been fortunate to partner with industry-changing companies like Blackbuck, Infra.Market, Moglix, Zetwerk amongst others which are disrupting complex B2B supply chains through technology and better aggregation.
Before we met Utham, we only had a vague idea of how fragmented the seafood supply chain is and how large the market is. Utham highlighted to us the opportunity and the looming challenge in this industry - demand has outstripped supply for years and this mismatch will increase as consumption increases with global wealth while supply remains finite, naturally constrained by nature. With an addressable market (in India alone) of over $50B+ and growing quickly - in line with growing incomes and protein consumption, this seemed to us like an ideal setup for a supply-focused B2B company.
Captain Fresh is taking an approach that is familiar to us from our portfolio of B2B companies: target an unorganized commodity with a fragmented supply base, aggregate the supply through technology, use scale, and technology to standardize the quality, and serve retailers by giving better quality products, higher fill rate, and predictable delivery. Additionally, India has one of the largest supply bases for marine fish, but remains insignificant in the $100B+ fresh seafood export market, largely because of the lack of scale and technology. Captain Fresh is layering in technology for traceability of supply and the infrastructure to help give fisherman access to global markets.
It sounds simple, but in this industry, it is anything but. For one, you have no idea what kind of fish a fisherman will catch when they go out to sea - species, size, quality; Second, the lack of cold chain infrastructure in India makes the supply extremely fragile; finally, demand is extremely specific - each buyer wants a specific type, size and quality of fish. This gives a complex matrix of heterogeneous demand and supply that needs to be matched.
This is where Captain Fresh excels: understanding demand patterns, predicting supply, managing the end-to-end logistics and helping fisherman and farmers maximize their earnings by creating the connection to appropriate buyers, democratizing channels to maximize demand and minimizing spoilage.
With a massive opportunity to transform the seafood supply chain in India and beyond, we at Accel are excited about the journey ahead with Captain Fresh!
Barath, Prashanth and Rachit