How Captain Fresh reeled in B2B success using clarity, capital, and talent

Building a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace can be a bit like fishing. You find a good spot in the waters, bring along a strong hook, cast the line watchfully and wait patiently for the fish to bite.
How Captain Fresh reeled in B2B success using clarity, capital, and talent
How Captain Fresh reeled in B2B success using clarity, capital, and talent
51 Mins
Available on your favorite podcast app
Barath Shankar Subramanian
Barath Shankar Subramanian
Partner, Accel
Part of the Accel investment team since 2012, Barath serves on the board or actively works with management teams at Axio, Consure, Medigo,, PharmaCCX, Portea, SigTuple, and other early-stage companies. He has been in the healthcare domain for over a decade, having previously been a senior consultant at Frost & Sullivan where he covered the healthcare and life sciences domains across North America, Europe, and Asia.
Utham Gowda
Utham Gowda
Founder, Captain Fresh
Before founding Captain Fresh, Utham served as Executive Vice President at Nekkanti Sea Foods and Associate Vice President at o3 Capital.
Captain Fresh

Give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. Give someone reliable access to seafood in a supply-deprived industry, you go on to create a successful B2B marketplace for fish. Take it from Utham Gowda, the founder of Captain Fresh, an investment banker-turned-fisherman, so to speak. 

Three years after its birth in 2019, the company has raised $126.5 million in funding at a $500 million valuation. In an industry where the average level of spoilage is 20-30%, Captain Fresh manages to minimize waste in seafood shipments to 2-5%. 

It was in 2015, while scouting for viable sectors as an investment banker, that Gowda embarked on an aquatic adventure. He was helping a seafood player become IPO-ready. Some years of diving deep into fisheries revealed a fragmented, underserved industry begging for scientific solutions. There was a clear entrepreneurial opportunity, but few had even touched the space.

Quite frankly, the waters were muddy. There was a combination of problems: High perishability, seasonality, varying tastes by region and so on. Gowda rose to that challenge with a combination of his own: Research, resources, and people. 

As an investment banker, he knows the importance of due diligence. As a single founder, he knows the importance of finding the right talent. And as someone who started up a little before COVID-19 hit, he knows the importance of planning and stress-testing. 

In this part of a series produced by Accel Partners, Gowda was joined by Barath Shankar Subramanian of Accel, a vegetarian who strongly backs the fish-fuelled business. In July 2021, after many Zoom calls between Subramanian's and Gowda’s teams, Captain Fresh raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Accel. They talk to Pankaj Mishra,  co-founder of digital media publication FactorDaily,  about their journey.

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51 Mins
November 7, 2022
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