Captain Fresh, an AI-powered seafood marketplace startup in India, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global and Prosus Ventures, the venture arm of Dutch internet conglomerate Prosus.
Existing investors Accel India, Ankur Capital, Incubate Fund and Matrix Partners India also participated in the round. Almost 75% of the latest round came from new investors, says Utham Gowda, founder and CEO of Captain Fresh. In July, Captain Fresh raised $12 million in a Series A round led by Accel India and Matrix Partners India.
The two-year old startup will use the funds 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,” according to a press release.
Captain Fresh uses digital technology to streamline India’s fragmented $30 billion seafood industry. It says its real-time B2B platform uses AI to help retail businesses match customer orders with India’s fishermen and fish farms. Captain Fresh’s predictive models help source supplies of specific fish days before customers place orders, enabling overnight delivery to some cities. The startup was included in this year’s Forbes Asia 100 to Watch list.
“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,” Gowda said in the press release. Globally, fish and seafood demand is estimated to be $400 billion and represents one of the fastest-growing protein segments with an ever-expanding supply gap, according to the press release.
Captain Fresh, which says it serves 500,000 retailers and fishmongers along with 75 million consumer households, is speeding deliveries in a fishing sector that makes up about 6.3% of the global fish production. The sector employs about 14.5 million people who fish and in fiscal year 2018-2019 production grew by roughly 6% to 13.34 million tons, industry analysts ResearchAndMarkets has found. But India’s fishing industry faces “poor yield optimization” along with problems in harvest and post-harvest operations, the Indian academic website GKToday says.