As always, I was watching tweetdeck when I saw a very odd hash tag being #bernardisback. I couldn't help but notice more and more of the people I follow were raising the excitement level of it. Out of curiosity I contacted @chett12 to get the details on what exactly this was about. This is when she informed me that Master Chocolatier Bernard Callebaut was launching his new company Papa Chocolat.
Now I am far from a huge fan of chocolate, but the Callebaut name is known everywhere. After contacting Chett again, I was invited to the launch. My goal was not to go as a chocoholic, rather looking for an investment opportunity. This is where Podium Ventures comes into play. Podium is the company solicited to promote Papa Chocolat, and in my own opinion the did quite well. The most intriguing thing was the way in which they got the word out. Not only do they use the traditional forms of communication, but also had a social media team to get out the word. Now I don't know if all the hype on social media means these people will buy the product or not, but it definitely got the word out. The venue was packed and there was more media than a political convention. Did it pay off the have social media as a tool? For me yes as I plan to get in on the offering memorandum.
Now as an investment I have a different reason for doing so than the promotion Podium generates for the Papa Chocolat name. My whole reason for being there was to learn about the Callebaut's and what the plan going forward is. We all know that the last Callebaut company went into receivership and was taken over by another group of investors. I am sure many of you wonder why I would take the risk on this venture. Simply put...Passion. As I listened to Bernard speak, he was a very humble and excited man. The way he spoke of his current hardships and what he wanted to do was heart warming. Surrounded by his family he spoke from the heart about his love for making chocolate, and it was sincere and passionate while he spoke which you could see in his eyes. Once all the talking was finished, the chocolate came out and it was delicious.
Later in the evening I had the opportunity to chat with the Callebaut's. Not only are they a very genuine couple, but were completely overwhelmed by the support of fellow Calgarians. Will they succeed in business this time? I just can't see how with past experience and passion they can't!