GHANA – Koa, a Swiss-Ghanaian sustainable cocoa processing startup, has clinched US$10 million growth capital to accelerate its disruptive upcycling business around the cocoa fruit.

The financing comprises of funds obtained through its finalized Series A equity round as well as the closing of additional senior and junior ranking debt from both institutional and private investors.

The series A fundraising round totalling US$4.7 million in equity was led by Haltra Group, a Luxembourg-based family investment company and was joined by a group of other like-minded family offices focused on driving sustainability on the Triple Bottom Line “People, Planet and Profit”.

In addition to that, Koa obtained a US$3.5 million long-term debt facility from impact funds and US$2.0 million of shareholder loans.

The long-term debt facility was co-led by the IDH Farmfit Fund and the Landscape Resilience Fund coming together in a unique partnership for this investment with the aim of improving smallholders’ incomes and their transition to climate resilient agriculture.

“We are excited that we won strong and reputable partners for the further growth of our business. It shows that our way of responsibly doing business and our value proposition are meeting the pulse of the time.

“With these investments, we will be setting up Africa’s largest cocoa pulp processing plant in West Africa which is the world’s largest cocoa growing region,” Benjamin Kuschnik, Co-Founder and Group Finance Director of Koa, says.

Koa to set up new processing plant

The investments will allow Koa to scale its production capabilities tenfold by 2024, allowing the company to cooperate with an additional 10,000 cocoa smallholders in Ghana.

The new production plant will also create 250 jobs and new vocational opportunities for communities in rural Ghana.

This will be Koa’s second factory which is already in construction and is planned to start its operations by the end of 2022.

“As a family investment group focused on managing assets and having a positive impact, we promote the emergence of disruptive and sustainable economic models for future generations.

“We are delighted to participate in this exciting venture at the edge of Circular Economy and Food Transition, two of our core investment themes, and to contribute to impacting the local communities in Ghana,” Matthieu Baumgartner, Co-Founder of Haltra, says.

Koa unlocks new value chain

Founded in 2017, Koa has adopted a new fresh look at the cocoa fruit as a source of value with immense potential to boost the incomes and resilience of smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana.

The startup is disrupting the cocoa industry through its innovative upcycling of the cocoa pulp, unlocking a new value chain.

It uses novel processing technology that is mobile, enabling them to extract the cocoa fruit juice in the center of the communities, next to the cocoa farms. This is made possible as the processing facilities are powered using solar energy.

Further to that, it processes the cocoa pulp which was previously used for fermentation in small quantities with the rest discarded.

The processing brings out unique new ingredients to the food and beverage industry for applications ranging from chocolate, confectionery, ice cream to drinks.

“We are very pleased that today’s investment will support Koa in responsible value creation in the cocoa supply chain.

“These kind of disruptive and innovative solutions are key to catalyse the system change that is needed to improve the lives of these cocoa farmers,” Barbara Visser, COO of the IDH Farmfit Fund, says.

Looking at strengthening cocoa farmers’ climate resilience, Urs Dieterich, Managing Director of the Landscape Resilience Fund, emphasises that, “Increasing investment in adaptation will save and improve many lives in the communities hardest hit by climate change.

“That’s what today’s investment is all about – supporting an inspiring, socially and environmentally grounded business to reach greater heights and have even more climate impact.”

Through its investment, Koa aims to create gender equal employment opportunities in rural communities and targets to reach 40% women farmers.

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