Amsterdam, February 24, 2020 – Tony’s Chocolonely has taken a major step in accelerating its global expansion and extending its mission, by striking an investment partnership with Verlinvest and JamJar Investments.
The Dutch chocolate company was founded 15 years ago by journalists highlighting forced and child labour issues in the cocoa-industry, and has since grown rapidly to become the chocolate bar market leader in the Netherlands. In addition to expanding the brand internationally, the investment will be used to develop Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus in Zaandam, The Netherlands – a chocolate factory and visitor’s center familiarizing fans with the issues of inequality in the industry.
Henk Jan Beltman (Chief Chocolate Officer of Tony’s Chocolonely): “With the investment of Verlinvest and JamJar, we can accelerate in achieving our goal of making all chocolate worldwide 100% slave-free. To accomplish this, it is important that we can continue to grow internationally so that more and more people – farmers, consumers, retailers, big chocolate companies and governments alike – can be involved in our mission.”
Ben Black (Verlinvest): “We are delighted to be backing a category-defining innovator and leader in ethical business practices. Tony’s Chocolonely is a fun and engaging brand, offering a serious and practical solution to an unfair and unequal supply-chain. We see huge potential to accelerate in bringing the brand to an international audience and driving change on a global scale.”
Adam Balon (JamJar Investments): “Over the course of only a few years, Henk Jan has created a fantastic brand and has set a new standard for the chocolate industry. I look forward to helping him and the entire team at Tony’s Chocolonely create a truly global impact brand. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Verlinvest is a private family-owned, consumer-focused investment company, with over €1.6bn of assets under management in flexible, permanent capital globally. Their investors are the Belgian family shareholders of the controlling group of AB-InBev, the world’s largest beer company.
Verlinvest invests behind visionary business leaders to build the next generation of impactful, category-defining brands that will form the future of the consumer sector, democratizing healthy, sustainable and ethical alternatives. Verlinvest invests in brands and businesses within Food & Beverage, Digital & E-commerce and Healthcare.
Active since 1995, Verlinvest has taken minority and majority stakes in high-growth brands in Europe, US and Asia, to act as a long-term partner in accelerating their growth across channels and geographies. Verlinvest is present in Brussels, London, New York and Singapore backing brands such as Oatly, Vita Coco, Vitaminwater, Mutti, Frichti, Sir Kensington’s, Popchips, Sambazon and Hint amongst many others.
About Tony’s Chocolonely:
Tony’s Chocolonely exists to make chocolate 100% slave free. Not just its own chocolate, but all chocolate worldwide. It’s an impact company making chocolate. Tony’s Chocolonely was founded in 2005 by three journalists from the Dutch TV show ‘Keuringsdienst van Waarde’ after they discovered that the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers were buying cocoa from plantations that used illegal child labor and modern slavery. Since then Tony’s Chocolonely has dedicated its efforts to raise awareness about the inequality in the chocolate industry. They lead by example by building direct long-term relationships with cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, paying them a higher price and working together to solve the underlying causes of modern slavery. They want to inspire the industry as a whole to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate. Tony’s Chocolonely has grown to become the largest chocolate brand in the Netherlands and is now almost worldwide available, with offices in the Netherlands, USA, the UK and DACH.
About JamJar Investments:
JamJar Investments is the innocent drinks founders’ venture capital fund. It invests in exceptional founding teams to help them create, nurture and scale challenger consumer brands across Europe. Focused at the Seed and Series A stage, JamJar’s portfolio includes Deliveroo, Tails.com, Bulb Energy, Propercorn and Babylon Health.