Vietnam’s Mekong Capital invests in Marou Chocolate, its first portfolio pick for MEF IV fund

Vincent Mourou, cofounder, Marou Chocolate

Vietnam-based private equity firm Mekong Capital’s latest $246 million fund has closed its first investment — an undisclosed amount in local chocolate crafter Marou Chocolate Company.

Marou Chocolate is one of the first bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate makers in Asia, according to a Mekong Capital statement. Marou is widely known for its single-origin dark chocolate bars. The company also runs three café-patisserie-chocolate factory concepts called Maison Marou in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. In 2020, it developed another concept offering on-the-go experience called Marou Station.

The investment by Mekong Enterprise Fund IV (MEF IV) will help Marou further scale up the Maison Marou and Marou Station concepts, develop new products, as well as build its leadership team, Mekong Capital said.

Founded in 2011 by two Frenchmen living in Vietnam, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou, Marou produces its chocolate using only Vietnamese cacao, collected from six provinces in southern Vietnam.

The firm says it pay above-market rates, doubling cacao’s commodity price to local farmers for high-quality cacao beans, and offer farmers an alternative to the middle-men, according to its website.

MEF IV is Mekong Capital’s largest fund which was closed earlier this year. MEF IV will invest in the range of $10-35 million per deal, and can make both minority and buy-out investments.

Its predecessor fund, MEF III, which was launched in 2016 at $112 million, has closed nine deals so far and exited one company — jewellery retailer Precita.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.