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MUMBAI : Captain Fresh, a business-to-business seafood marketplace, is close to acquiring US-based Beaver Street Fisheries at an enterprise value of $600 million, three people aware of the matter said.

The farm-to-retail startup, founded by banker turned entrepreneur Utham Gowda and backed by Prosus (formerly Naspers) and Matrix Partners, will gain access to the US market through this acquisition.

Captain Fresh will tap its existing investors to finance the acquisition.

The company will also offer part of its stock to Beaver Fisheries’ shareholders, the people cited above said on the condition of anonymity.

Earlier this year, the three-year-old startup was valued at $500 million when it raised $50 million in a funding round led by its investors Prosus and Tiger Global.

The company has raised over $100 million to date.

Captain Fresh helps farmers and fishermen sell fresh fish and other seafood species. It has over 50 collection centres and helps sell to over 2,500 businesses.

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The company aims to transform the fish and seafood supply chain by aggregating the fragmented retail demand across the country and linking it to the small fishermen and farmers across the Indian coast.

It offers a digital commerce platform and a physical fulfilment layer for retailers across multiple formats.

Captain Fresh also operates in the US, Spain and the Middle East.

Beaver Street Fisheries, founded in 1950, is one of the largest processors and sellers of seafood in the US.

Queries emailed to spokespeople of both companies remained unanswered.

“The company wants to expand its presence in the US. The acquisition gives them a lever over that market," one of the three people cited above said.

According to him, currently, a quarter of the company’s business comes from overseas markets and is expected to grow further.

During its last funding round, Gowda said that the fresh funds would help Captain Fresh expand to more countries, including in Southeast Asia and Africa.

High-growth startups have been taking the inorganic route to grow their business. This is one of the biggest acquisitions in the segment by an Indian company.

According to a report by The Hindu Business Line in August, India is likely to register around 14% growth in exports of seafood products valued at close to $8.86 billion (approximately 70,605 crore at the current exchange rate) in 2022-23.

The country had shipped marine products worth $7.76 billion in FY22. India had witnessed a 30% growth in exports of seafood products during FY22 over FY21 on the back of a steadily growing demand.

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