Private equity firm Mekong Capital’s latest fund, which has $246 million under management, has completed its first investment.
Marou’s chocolate bars. Photo by Shutterstock/EQRoy.
It has invested an undisclosed sum in chocolate crafter Marou, one of the first bean-to-bar artisanal chocolate makers in Asia and among the few in the world to make pure dark chocolate right where the cacao is grown.
It was founded in 2011 by two Frenchmen living in Vietnam, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou. During a camping trip in a forest in 2010, they met each other and were impressed by what they heard about cacao in Vietnam and decided to start a chocolate making company.
Their first Maison Marou store opened in 2016 on Calmette Street in HCMC’s District 1, and a second a year later on Tho Nhuom Street in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem District.
According to Mekong Capital, its investment by the Mekong Enterprise Fund IV Limited Partnership (MEF IV) will help Marou open more stores, develop new products and build its management team.
MEF IV, which closed in January, will focus on thriving Vietnamese businesses in the consumer industry.
Mekong Capital has said it will primarily invest in education, restaurants, consumer services, fast-moving consumer goods, and healthcare.
It expects to make around 12 investments of $10 – 35 million each.
Its predecessor fund, Mekong Enterprise Fund III, was launched in May 2015 with $112 million in committed capital and has made nine investments in retail, restaurants, consumer products, and service providers to the retail industry.