Captain Fresh’s B2B Recipe for the Unorganized Indian Seafood Market

When Licious, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) meat and seafood startup, went unicorn last year, it was a rare moment of mainstream recognition for a space that has remained largely unchanged for decades. Indeed, India’s meat and seafood sector, which Bernstein analysts say is worth

$40 billion

$40 billion

India’s Licious raises $150m for its fresh animal protein e-commerce platform
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— has strong parallels with local fish markets. It’s largely disorganized, messy, inconsistent, and riddled with quality issues.

For companies that aim to bring some semblance of order to the space, like Licious and its peers FreshToHome and Tendercuts, there’s a gold mine waiting to be tapped. Realizing this opportunity, however, is an expensive and complicated nightmare. These companies must sort between supply, warehousing, long-distance transport and finally last-mile delivery. While building brand recognition through aggressive marketing.

But even as they build their farm-to-fork empires brick by brick, a dark horse in space challenges the idea that D2C is the best path to meat and seafood success. Come in, Captain Fresh.

Founded in 2019, Captain Fresh eschewed consumer-facing meat and seafood from the start. Instead, he built his business by solving the seafood supply chain, creating a digital layer connecting fishers, collection centers and retailers. Through this, he ensures that the seafood he buys gets to the end buyer as quickly and efficiently as possible, eliminating the unpredictability of supply in local markets.

This value proposition has helped Captain Fresh enroll more than 2,500 customers, buying around 100 tonnes of seafood and other animal protein (which it recently started sourcing) every day. The company even counts online grocer BigBasket and Swiggy’s grocery arm, Instamart, among its customers. In the quarter ended March 2022, says company founder Utham Gowda, Captain Fresh hit a

annual income rate

annual income rate

annual income rate
Annual Revenue Rate (ARR) is the estimated annual revenue of a business based on one month’s revenue.

(ARR) of $100 million. For context, when Licious was granted unicorn status in October 2021, she claimed an ARR of approximately $131 million.

“We are doubling every quarter. Our ARR was $25m in the September quarter, $50m in December and $100m now in March,”

Utham Gowda, CEO of Captain Fresh

Unsurprisingly, Captain Fresh is gaining traction over its D2C peers in the valuation contest.

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