How FreshToHome scaled from just 4K customers to 85K in 15 months


FreshToHome has secured multi-million dollars in angel funding from Mark Pincus, Google India chief Rajan Anandan, and Mashreq Bank’s Abdul Azeez Al-Ghurair

FreshToHomeWhen Shan Kadavil met SeaToHome founder Mathew Joseph sometime last year, the online fresh fish retailer was on the deathbed. Shan, former India head of Zynga and a regular customer of SeaToHome, was determined to save the e-commerce business, when he came to know Mathew, a veteran fish exporter in Kerala, was planning to wind up the online platform that he painstakingly launched in 2012.

“It was really heartbreaking when I heard SeaToHome, the only fresh fish e-taler in India, was shutting down. This when I decided to help the company using my experience and expertise in consumer internet space. I contacted Mathew and asked if he is interested in working together to turn round the company. He readily agreed,” Shan narrates the story to Startagist.

Shan, a serial entrepreneur with immense experience in building startups, had a clear vision in his mind when he took the helm of the company. He realised that if he could make use of the business acumen of Mathew, he could easily rescue the company from further erosion.

“I’ve built many businesses, including consumer Internet companies, in the past, which helped me to understand the intricacies of e-commerce. I was incubating a couple of companies when SeaToHome was enrolled as an incubatee. We decided to put more time and double down our efforts on SeaToHome,” Shan explains.

The duo worked together for a few months, and rebranded SeaToHome as FreshTomHome to include other non-veg products such as poultry, duck, chicken etc. SeaToHome was floundering at just 4,000 customers then. After a few months of a hard-work, the business picked up pace and Shan and Mathew successfully scaled it to 85,000 customers across Cochin, Bangalore and Delhi.

“We also moved the headquarters from Cochin to Bangalore, which is now our key market in terms of the number of repeat customers. We also set up our own logistics and supply chain arms. Without burning much dollars on marketing, we kind of became a household name in the city. We have now bigger plans to expand to eight cities soon and ultimately to 20 cities,” Shan adds.

Why FreshToHome?

FreshToHome Co-founder and CEO Shan Kadvail
FreshToHome Co-founder and CEO Shan Kadvail

Recently, a few startups cropped up in the fresh meat and fish space such as Zappfresh and Licious. However, none of these new-age businesses could not match the prowess of  FreshToHome. “This is because we have far ahead of them in terms of everything. We have several USPs. One, we have our own processing unit in Bangalore. Two, we deliver fish to our customers within just 24 hours of being caught from the sea. Three, we have stringent quality check process in place that we make sure that fish products are totally chemical-free and meats are halal-certified. Four, we have our own supply chain,” says Shan.

Plus, FreshToHome is backed by some of the well-known names in the startup industry across the world. These angels put together multimillion dollars into the company a few moths ago. The names include Facebook’s early investor Mark Pincus, David Krane of Google Ventures, Google India chief Rajan Anandan, Pete Briger of Fortress Investment Group, former SoftBank executive Pavan Ongole, and Mashreq Bank’s Abdul Azeez Al-Ghurair.

FreshToHome is operating an industry estimated to be US$49 billion, which is slightly bigger than the size of the Hollywood industry (US$49 billion). “This is just for the fish industry. If we add meats and poultry products, the size will be much higher. This is why we are confident of becoming the largest fresh fish and meat e-commerce company in India,” Shan concludes