Nucao Vegan Chocolate Makers Secure €14M As Climate-Positive Snacks Take Off

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The Nu Company, the Leipzig-based startup behind the vegan chocolate and protein brands Nucao and Numove, has just bagged €14 million in a Series A round of financing. Proceeds from the round will fuel Nu’s ongoing expansion, amid a record-breaking year of sales for the company, driven by rising consumer demand for health-conscious and plant-based foods.  

German startup The Nu Company, stylised in lowercase-only letters, has announced the closing of its Series A funding with more than €14 million. The round, led by Luxembourg-based DLF Venture, also saw participation from Paris-headquartered food tech investors Five Seasons Ventures and DX Ventures, the VC arm of food delivery giant Delivery Hero, which also owns Foodpanda. 

Other notable investors include former racing driver and Formula 1 world racing champion Nico Rosberg, who has since his retirement backed a number of green tech startups like Tier Mobility, as well as BackBone Ventures and the Austrian F&B investors Square One Foods.

The Nu Company produces vegan chocolate and protein snack bars.

The Nu Company plans expansion

Nu says that proceeds from its Series A, which is the startup’s first financing round, will help it grow its distribution across Europe and internationally. 

“This Series A will help us bring more products to market that can bring about a real and positive change in the food industry,” said co-founder and CMO Christian Fenner. “We want our products to be even easier to access throughout Europe, whether at the local supermarket or with a single click online.” 

Fenner launched the startup back in 2016 with Thomas Stoffels and Mathias Tholey, and it has since rolled out two successful consumer-facing brands, Nucao and Numove, which offers climate-positive, plastic-free and low-sugar vegan chocolate and protein bars and snacks. The entire range is certified organic, vegan, and free from refined sugars and packaged in home compostable cellulose-based wrappers. 

For every product sold, Nu sets aside a portion of proceeds to support reforestation projects led by nonprofit organisation Eden, with one tree planted for every bar. 

The Nu Company founders Christian Fenner, Mathias Tholey and Thomas Stoffels.

Consumers are turning to climate-friendly snacks

Nu’s funding round comes amid surging demand for more sustainable and healthy foods, especially climate-friendly snacks, which is quickly becoming a big trend in the food industry. Nu itself recorded triple-digit sales growth for 2021 for the fourth consecutive year, and the brand is now retailed in more than 10,000 stores. 

Co-founder and CFO Stoffels says that the startup is now on track to plant more than 10 million trees before the end of 2021. 

Another consumer trend that has driven Nu’s record sales, says co-founder and CEO Tholey, is the company’s value-led approach. A recent global survey found that as many as 80% of all shoppers now believe that businesses have a key role to play in climate action and social justice. 

The Nu Company plants a tree for every product sold.

“We don‘t stop at our own products. There needs to be a change in consciousness in the industry as a whole,” said Tholey, who issued with his co-founders an open call for climate action on the part of German politicians and corporations. “We’re putting the pressure on and demanding that politicians and large corporations follow suit, so we can treat consumers and our planet with respect and operate in a way that’s appropriate for all generations.” 

For lead investor DLF Venture, Nu’s purpose-driven business is a major part of why it believes the brand is poised for growth amid changing consumer trends. “The goal is always to bring a healthier option to everyone’s table without neglecting the environment,” said principal Clément Helinckx. 

“The result is excellent consumer engagement and outstanding growth rates,” Helinckx continued. “It’s exciting to see a brand spread its wings so quickly. This shows a clear adjustment of the market and a great deal of potential to trigger long-term changes.” 


All images courtesy of The Nu Company.

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