NEW YORK, NY, Hu Products, makers of organic, paleo and vegan chocolate, announced today the closing of their Series A round led by a strategic minority investment from Sonoma Brands.
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Sonoma Brands is a unique food & beverage products incubator and venture fund led by Jon Sebastiani. With its beginnings in the popular, paleo-inspired New York-based restaurant, Hu Kitchen, Hu Chocolate is now ready to accelerate the expansion of its global reach and propel its growth in the health-conscious snacking space.
"We are thrilled to have found a strategic partner in Sonoma Brands. We look forward to what this relationship will help us accomplish as we move to advance our distribution and exposure in the coming months," said Jason H. Karp, Chairman and Co-Founder of Hu. "With the support of Sonoma Brands, along with several other highly strategic investors, we will accelerate the conversation around the need for more vegan, paleo and unprocessed foods and bolster our platform as a mission-driven health and wellness business."
Hu Chocolate is the first-to-market brand that has given vegan, paleo and keto lifestyle devotees a culinary-inspired health indulgence that meets their needs. The brand of Hu ("Get back to Human") embraces the integrity of dark chocolate at its core, using organic cacao, to craft a vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, delicious product, free of refined sugar and additives and lower-glycemic by design. Hu, Sonoma Brands and the other new partners, plan to work collaboratively to accelerate growth and continue to innovate in the good-for-you snacking space.
Hu is excited to announce several other notable strategic investors including Dr. Mark Hyman, Tim Ferriss, Nelson Peltz, and Dr. Peter Attia. Nelson Peltz, Founding Partner of Trian Partners, a pioneer in food investing and corporate governance, has been the only outside investor before this round. Dr. Hyman, a world-renowned author and pioneer in functional medicine, is eager to partner with a brand that encompasses his integrated focus on wellness and nutrition. Dr. Attia, an expert in diet, longevity and metabolism, admires the strict principles to which Hu adheres and how Hu channels that mission into delicious products. Ferriss, famed author and angel investor, believes in Hu's "Get back to Human" brand mission, and is pleased to add Hu Products to his portfolio of investments in innovative businesses. And of course, all the investors love the chocolate!
"This product is a healthy treat people can look for without the added guilt typically associated with chocolate, or products with refined sugar," said Dr. Mark Hyman. "The product quality and ingredient vetting is unparalleled in the dessert and confectionery world, which is why Hu Chocolate is a wonderful option for people to embrace when they want a permissible indulgence."
Sonoma Brands Founder Jon Sebastiani adds: "We couldn't be more excited to partner with a brand that is right on par with our background. Providing unique experiences with 100% vegan products, Hu Chocolate is a true category disrupter in the vegan/paleo world, showcasing ingredient integrity and culinary influence that resonates deeply with our team. We believe that Hu will change brand standards across a variety of product verticals by delivering its rigorous ingredient integrity and transparency, and we're excited to be a part of that future and the Hu story."
Hu Chocolate is available in several thousand stores nationwide and retails for $4.99-$6.99. For more information on Hu Chocolate, please visit www.hukitchen.com.
About HU Products and Hu Kitchen
Hu Products (aka Hu Chocolate and pronounced "Hue" as in human) is one of the fastest growing chocolate companies in the U.S. with a strict focus on clean label and strictly-vetted, transparent ingredients. Hu Chocolate is vegan, paleo, soy-free, refined sugar-free and won various gold, silver and bronze medals in the "2017 Best Vegan Chocolate Awards." Hu Kitchen is a high-end, fast-casual restaurant and market in NYC, serving over 1,000 people a day, focused strictly on delicious, unprocessed foods. At Hu Kitchen, you can find all of Hu's products and experience the clean lifestyle of "Get Back to Human."
About Jason H. Karp
Jason H. Karp is Chairman and Co-Founder of Hu Kitchen and Hu Products, with his wife Jessica and brother-in-law, Jordan Brown. Mr. Karp is the founder and CEO of Tourbillon Capital Partners, a multi-billion dollar asset manager. Mr. Karp has 20 years of investment experience and was previously at three other multi-billion dollar investment funds. Mr. Karp, through both Tourbillon and his private investment vehicles, has extensive investments in the health and wellness space. Mr. Karp graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Economics and concentration in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. His philanthropic interests include education and health, and his family foundation focuses on prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases, chronic diseases and childhood obesity.
About Sonoma Brands
Founded in 2016, Sonoma Brands is a specialist growth equity firm exclusively dedicated to disruptive, high-growth consumer brands. Inspired by the heritage of California's wine country, Sonoma Brands is committed to authenticity, quality and innovation. Led by Jon Sebastiani, founder of artisanal jerky brand, KRAVE Jerky, Sonoma Brands seeks to further CPG entrepreneurship by developing, launching and supporting promising, creative and disruptive brands. For more information on Sonoma Brands, please visit www.sonomabrands.com.
About Jon Sebastiani
Jon Sebastiani is the founder of artisanal jerky brand, KRAVE, and leader of the jerky renaissance, leading KRAVE to their successful acquisition by The Hershey Company. His expertise in the field has been cultivated through various business pursuits, including his background in operations and previous positions as managing partner of Wine.com and President of the premier California winery destination, Viansa Winery. He is a graduate of Santa Clara University with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and holds a dual MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and Columbia University.