Indianapolis chocolate company secures $ 5.25 million in funding

Matt Rubin

The Indianapolis-based company behind artisanal chocolate brand SoChatti has landed $ 5.25 million in funding and finalized its first industrial license agreement, it announced on Friday.

True Essence said the private investor funding round included the participation of Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures.

The company said the capital injection would be used to acquire equipment to expand research and development, expand sales distribution of existing products, and help it launch new products and developments on the market. Marlet.

Founded by CEO Matt Rubin in 2013 as Trade Secrets Chocolates Inc., the company operated under the name SoChatti from 2018 until the end of 2020 before changing to the name True Essence.

SoChatti, a sachet-wrapped liquid chocolate that can be drizzled with other foods or used in recipes, is now a True Essence brand and could be one of many if the company’s plans come to fruition.

True Essence, which officially launches Friday, plans to work with partners at every step of the supply chain to solve problems through products and technology.

These solutions could involve advancements in flavor retention, shelf stability and sustainable packaging that the company created during the development of SoChatti and one of its other products, True Essence Fruit Nectars.

True Essence said it is “testing and executing” possible innovations with more than 15 industry partners in various food and beverage categories, including juices and concentrates, fruits and vegetables, fermented products and beverages, herbs. , spices and cannabinoids.

If successful, these test partnerships could result in official licensing partnerships like the one True Essence has just inked with organic juice bar, restaurant and food company Greenleaf Foods Inc.

Portland, Oregon-based Greenleaf, which operates Greenleaf Juicing Co. in downtown Indianapolis, plans to use True Essence technology to launch a pack of long-life organic fruit and vegetable juices that , when reconstituted, becomes a freshly squeezed juice. The process, called True Essence Flavor Symmetry, removes water from fresh foods, making them shelf stable and inexpensive to transport and store while preserving and protecting flavor.

The license deal could be lucrative for True Essence if the product is successful.

“True Essence has demonstrated throughout the innovation cycle that its platform technology can revolutionize food storage and preservation without the typical sacrifices in flavor and shelf life,” said Mark Gramelspacher, entrepreneur in residence at Elevate Ventures, in written comments. “We believe this technology will create new uses for food while solving some very big problems facing today’s global food supply chain.

Besides Elevate Ventures, other investors in True Essence include Bob Kirch, managing partner of Kirch Equity Investments and former CEO of Caito Foods, and Omar Robinson, a founding member of Sun King Brewing.

True Essence opened a production and research facility in early 2020 in the Circle City industrial complex at 1125 Brookside Ave. under the name SoChatti. The establishment also has a retail counter and a tasting room. It has developed processes for flavor preservation and balancing that can be applied to a variety of foods and beverages, and it has dozens of pending or issued patents to protect its processes, equipment, industrial designs and production methods.

True Essence has fewer than 20 employees, but expects to grow as it adds products and licensing partners. In 2019, the company entered into an agreement with Indiana Economic Development Corp. to bring the number of jobs to 75 by the end of 2023. She should get $ 500,000 in tax credits if she can meet that goal. True Essence also has incentive agreements with the City of Indianapolis.

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