LoveRaw, a vegan chocolate brand, has received a multi-million pound investment deal from Blue Horizon Ventures.
Blue Horizon Ventures, already financial backers for Beyond Meat, a US based producer of plant-based meat substitutes and many others, is a venture capitalist firm with a reputation in investing in plant-based food brands.
The VC’s investment comes just two years after Rimi Thapar, founder and managing director of LoveRaw, rejected a £50,000 investment offer from Dragon’s Den star, Deborah Meaden, in order to maintain a higher equity stake in the business.
Since appearing on the show, Rimi and her business partner and husband, Manav Thapar, have manufactured the brand’s 100% natural, vegan chocolate buttercup product, now produced in five flavours and sold in supermarkets and other retail chains across 10 different countries worldwide.
Rimi Thapar said: “Having Blue Horizon on board is game-changing. Regardless of the investment, our values align with theirs. We are all on a mission to make plant-based eating the norm and to also turn LoveRaw into an international brand. We are so glad that we waited for the right investor and didn’t buckle when the Dragon’s Den offer came in when we so needed it!”
“We are all on a mission to make plant-based eating the norm and to also turn LoveRaw into an international brand.”
Having achieved a 98% year-on-year growth rate, combined with a 200% increase in monthly sales, the pair approached Blue Horizon Ventures for investment in early 2019, with the aim of creating tastier, healthier and sustainable food across the globe.
Michael Kleindl, founder and managing partner of Blue Horizon Ventures, said: “We are extremely pleased to welcome LoveRaw to the Blue Horizon portfolio. Together we will work to provide consumers around the world with plant-based and ‘clean label’ products from the indulgence category and aim to convert the current product options towards more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives. We are confident that LoveRaw has the opportunity to become market leaders in their sector.”
Point of difference
Speaking exclusively to Food Management Today regarding the investment deal, Rimi Thapar said: “While trying to lead a more healthier lifestyle, I was in search of snacks that were better for me and tasted good but there wasn’t much on the market. So I thought “I can do this, I’ll make a product that I would like to consume in the market” and off I went.
“I started the business with just £600, I didn’t have thousands to invest and wanted to validate the product before going into production. I went to see a key buyer without a meeting, I sneaked past two reception desks and apologetically presented the product. It worked and I received my first order.”
Thapar continued: “Vegan chocolate has a bad rep for not tasting that great, but we are here to make you think otherwise by making great tasting chocolate that also happens to be vegan. Our products aren’t just for vegans, they are also for the conventional non-vegan.
“Well now the real hard work starts, we will continue as we have done and surround ourselves with the right people in order to grow the business. We will continue to innovate and launch more variations of vegan chocolate products, and in 5-10 years I would like to see the LoveRaw vegan chocolate ranges widely accessible in the UK and EU. However much LoveRaw grows, what will remain is the passion, culture and enthusiasm that we started with.”