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Two Former Goldman Sachs Bankers Are Now in the Chocolate Business

Elements Truffles is known for its vegan desserts.

Two Former Goldman Sachs Bankers Are Currently Working for Elements Chocolate Truffles is known for its vegan desserts.

When Kushal Choksi managed portfolio analytics for the fixed-income desk as a vice president at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., he would stress when the short end of the interest rate curve steepened.

Elements Truffles was founded by Choksi and his wife Alak Vasa, a former vice president for algorithmic trading at Goldman. The chocolate business in Jersey City specializes in treats inspired by ayurveda, an Indian system of natural medicine that highlights the use of substances like turmeric that are thought to offer therapeutic and medicinal benefits.

They provide a range of elegantly wrapped bars manufactured without soy or processed sugar; labels are block printed with vegetable ink. Instead, options like Orange Quinoa and Sea Salt with Turmeric are prepared using chocolate from Ecuador that was acquired sustainably and are sweetened with local honey.

Their 2-oz. bar of chocolate, which costs about $7, has a flavor of pure, deep tropical fruit that softly melts in your mouth.

Along with making vegan snack bars with flavors like mango and chocolate coconut, Elements also makes rich, delicious, fruity vegan hot chocolate. The newest item is a protein powder with chai spices that is created from organic yellow peas and is plant-based. The pair places a high priority on education, contributing one-fourth of their net earnings to India’s poor youth.

Elements was started by Choksi and Vasa in 2016. After working on Wall Street for ten years, Vasa explains, “I had been on Wall Street long enough and I realized that this was a lifestyle I could not sustain.” She had began baking and creating confections on the weekends at Financier, the French-inspired patisserie across from the former Broad Street headquarters of Goldman Sachs.

Alak, who traveled the Path train to the bakery at 5 on Saturday mornings following a demanding work week, adds, “It would be a long week.”

They invested $100,000 of their own money to start the business, and they have received no other funding. According to Choksi, “I did not want this to be just about chasing valuations.” He states, “We really wanted to create value”. Instead, he and Vasa were prudent, and at first their family assisted the couple in gift-wrapping chocolates.

At a farmers market in the heart of Jersey City, they made their first commercial sales in 2016. Vasa knew that she would go back to Wall Street if the product didn’t succeed. She recalls, “I was very calculated and risk averse.” But the first weekend saw a sell-out of the chocolates.

Later, the duo took Elements to locations like Chelsea Market Baskets in Manhattan. They launched their online store the same year. 2,000 locations already carry Elements products, including four Whole Foods Market areas. A few of my clients come from as far away as Australia.

In order to serve markets in Asia and the Middle East, Elements has also established a modest manufacturing facility in Gujarat, in western India, and hopes to start production there by the end of the year. For India’s Independence Day’s 75th anniversary, it intends to create a special bar.

According to Choksi, Elements has been successful since its second year in operation, with an average net profit margin of 20% right now.

According to Vasa, they had intended to raise $2 million for 2022, but they’re delaying “given the macro scenario.”

We’ll come back to market soon.

She and Choksi are still enjoying the benefits of their long hours at companies like Goldman and BlackRock.

What being in the financial world of trading and portfolio management prepared us for is to deal with whatever comes your way, says Choksi. I have never been in a situation more stressful than on a trading desk. So what we do now just feels so natural. It’s all in a day’s work.

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