Seafood industry veteran Doug Brinsmade thinks now is the right time to start a new seafood company. Is he crazy, you might be asking? Does he know the coronavirus is threatening the existence of companies around the world?

Of course he does, but he also realizes the pandemic is completely changing the global food supply chain, opening up new opportunities for businesses, especially those in the e-commerce space.

In April, Brinsmade left Illinois-based Fortune Imports, a subsidiary of Fortune International, to start “What The Fish,” which is based in Austin, Texas.

The concept is simple, he says. “It’s about getting seafood directly to the end-user so they can prepare it or have it prepared for them.”

Home delivery of meal kits are the domain of such notable firms such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh and others, which are seeing a surge in business because of coronavirus lockdowns.

HelloFresh, for example, reported an 88.6 percent increase in active customers in its US operations in the first quarter, to 2.64 million, and a 90.3 percent increase in meals delivered, to 61.3 million.

“CV-19 has propelled e-commerce five years ahead of where it was prior,” Brinsmade told IntraFish.

Right now, he is working with grocery and food delivery companies to help them build their e-commerce seafood business. Many of these companies are vying for product and often lack the seafood supply chain and sourcing knowledge someone like Brinsmade, who has nearly 30 years of seafood experience, can bring.

Eventually, he could turn What The Fish into its own e-commerce meal delivery service. “It’s a question of whether you do it yourself or tie yourself to someone who already has the online platform and systems.”


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