Pathfinder invests in Portside

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Portside is an e-commerce platform offering customers from the whole of Poland access to fish and seafood sourced from the best ports in Europe. Tar Heel Capital Pathfinder invested PLN 1 million in the company

Portside.pl is an e-commerce platform offering the opportunity to purchase fish, seafood and derivative products. Its founders focus on the quality and freshness of the goods, as well as on expanding the offer with less available products in Poland, including those from the south of Europe.

The catalyst behind Portside was the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent restrictions on the food service industry, as well as changes in customer trends and habits. The funding from the round raised by Tar Heel Capital Pathfinder will be used for development of B2C and B2B client base of the platform.

“Portside is a place that was born out of a passion for healthy and delicious food. We have spotted a gap in the Polish market: the range of high-quality fresh fish available is inadequate. Products sold by fish shops often come from fish farms or are frozen, thereby losing their flavour. Customers are looking for goods of considerably higher quality.” says Łukasz Kwaśniewski, co-founder of Portside.

Behind Portside are entrepreneurs strongly linked with the food service market. Łukasz Kwaśniewski has been running Port Royal Fish & Oyster Bar restaurant in Koszyki Hall in Warsaw since 2016, with its second location opening very soon in Browary Warszawskie. The second co-founder, Łukasz Kozłowski, has over 8 years’ experience in supplying products from the seas and oceans of the world to the best restaurants in Poland. In the development of Portside they are supported by Tomasz Woźniak, a manager experienced in building technology companies, especially in the FoodTech industry, who joined the team as co-founder and COO.

“The direct impulse to create the platform came from the lockdown. Closure of the restaurants prompted us to implement an idea that we had been playing around with already before the pandemic.” adds Łukasz Kwaśniewski.

The platform targets both individual customers and restaurants. It operates in line with the zero-waste philosophy and focuses on cooperation with trusted fishermen and the best farms, ensuring the preservation of ecology principles together with sustainable and responsible catch.

“Our fish and seafood are delivered to Poland directly from fish markets such as Italian and German. We choose the highest quality products from top sea and inland fisheries, from the best producers.” emphasises Łukasz Kozłowski.

Products can be ordered to any place in Poland: they are delivered by couriers and transported in special, chilled packaging. Residents of Warsaw can also take advantage of the personal pick-up option at one of the points located in Wilanow, Powiśle, Centrum and Żoliborz. Soon they will be followed by more, also in other major cities in Poland.

“Combining the platform with an express offer and fast delivery is a key part of our development. Importing products yourself gives you full control over the value chain. On our end, our ongoing data analysis allows us to build an offer tailored to the expectations of our customers.” explains Tomasz Woźniak.

Portside.pl is part of the fast-growing q-grocery and quick commerce trends. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of the e-grocery market was estimated at PLN 1.2 billion and was projected to grow to PLN 2.8 billion in 2023. The events of 2020 have accelerated the development of the entire e-commerce industry. In Poland, one of its fastest growing segments is the grocery shop market, which saw transactions increase by as much as 158% compared to the previous year. “Portside’s founding team have a very good feeling of favourable market trends. Already the very first few months of operation have proved that the company is capable of scaling rapidly. Thanks to the further expansion of the product range and the creation of a network of pickup-points, the platform has a chance to reach the position of the new leader of the e-grocery market in the premium fish and seafood segment in Poland soon.” comments Kamil Moczulski, Investment Director at Tar Heel Capital Pathfinder, supporting the development of Portside.