US natural candy company Little Secrets has been backed by Sunrise Strategic Partners, an accelerator of emerging brands.

And Little Secrets has revealed Jeremy Vandervoet, former director of marketing in Nestle’s US confectionery and snacking division, is joining the company as president and chief operating officer.

Boulder, Colorado-based Little Secrets’ chocolate pieces and recently-launched chocolate crispy wafers use Fair Trade ingredients and are made with natural colours and flavours. 

The investment from Sunrise, also based in Boulder, will allow the three-year-old company to increase distribution and support marketing efforts to reach new consumers. 

It recently launched nationwide in Whole Foods and is also available on Amazon and at HEB, Stop & Shop, King Soopers, Natural Grocers, Meijer and Wegmans.

This is the ninth investment for Sunrise, co-founded by former Boulder Brands CEO Steve Hughes and private-equity firm Trilantic North America, to “provide growth expertise and capital to early-stage health and wellness brands”.

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Chris Mears, CEO and founder of Little Secrets, said: “I’m now looking forward to expanding our product line across other proven forms and to bringing Little Secrets to more consumers across the country.

“Additionally, I am pleased to announce Jeremy Vandervoet is joining Little Secrets as president and COO. With over a decade of experience at Nestle, Jeremy brings strategic insights and a deep network that will help us continue to grow the Little Secrets brand.”

Hughes, CEO and co-founder of Sunrise Strategic Partners, said: “Chris has done a terrific job bringing real innovation to the world of clean label chocolate, and we believe Little Secrets is at inflection point, as evidenced by the recent national launch of pieces and crispy wafers at Whole Foods.”