Bengaluru-based online fish and meat seller Freshtohome Foods Pvt. Ltd (formerly SeaToHome) has raised $11 million (Rs 76.4 crore at current exchange rate) in a Series A funding round led by CE-Ventures, the venture capital arm of diversified Crescent Enterprises headquartered in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the company said in a statement.
Other investors in the round include Das Capital, Kortschak Investments and TTCER Partners, the statement said.
Freshtohome said it will use the capital to enter new cities in the country as well as fortify its supply chain network. Co-founder and chief executive Shan Kadavil said they were “disrupting the food supply chain in India”, adding that the current system involved several levels of middlemen and food products laden with preservatives and chemicals.
Kadavil is also the co-founder and managing director of Dbaux.com, which offers ConnectivityStation focused on the large enterprise, government and critical infrastructure security markets. From February 2010 to March 2015, Kadavil was India head of Zynga Inc., creator of the once-popular online game FarmVille. According to a report by e27, Kadavil, a customer of Mathew Joseph-founded SeaToHome, was pained to know the platform was shutting down. Hence, he decided to give SeaToHome a new lease of life and relaunched it as Freshtohome towards the end of 2015, along with a team of people from Zynga.
CE-Ventures director Tushar Singhvi said the group was confident in its investment because of Freshtohome’s efforts to “streamline” the seafood and meat market in the country. “The meat and seafood segment in India is pegged to be a $50 billion market,” Singhvi said.
Freshtohome says it has a network of over 1,500 fishermen and farmers, and it uses refrigerated trucks to transport goods from its processing factories.
The company operates in Bengaluru, Chennai, parts of Kerala and the National Capital Region (NCR). The firm, looking to enter cities like Mumbai and Pune, cites the offline market as its biggest competitor. Online competition for the startup includes Licious and Zappfresh.
CE-Ventures says it is focused on making investments in early- to late-stage startups that use technology as a differentiator. It also invests in a few global venture capital funds, the company’s website says. “Our investments in transformative technologies are crucial towards developing an innovation-first ecosystem,” Singhvi said.
The firm’s portfolio includes companies including US-based social network Pinterest and Turkey-based employee transport startup Volt Lines. In 2017, CE-Ventures led an $11.1 million (around Rs 80 crore then) funding round in online furniture rental startup Furlenco. That investment marked the first-known deal by CE-Ventures in India.