PROPER (originally known as PROPERCORN) was founded by Cassandra Stavrou in 2011. Despite studying law and having a successful career in advertising, Cassandra had an entrepreneurial spirit that was always waiting for that one big idea. It came when she saw an opening for more delicious options in the bland healthy snacking market that existed at the time, and the brand was born spraying flavours at popcorn spinning in a cement mixer to get the perfect taste coverage that made PROPERCORN so successful.
It was Cassandra’s previous career and experience that she credits with helping her idea become a success. Early on she got some early advice not to go it alone, pulled in a business partner, and began reaching out to contacts. This led to two incredible early connections that launched PROPER to success.
Investment is a world where everyone knows each other. Once you’ve found the experts in your sector, staying in touch will lead to connections and opportunities in new areas as your business grows.
The brand’s first customer was the café at Google’s London headquarters, where it immediately became the most popular snack from 48 alternatives. Then some useful advice from Richard Reed, one of the Innocent Drinks co-founders, led to a long running relationship with their start-up VC fund, JamJar, and a connection to PROPER’s later PE investors, Piper PE. Investment is a world where everyone knows each other: once you’ve found the experts in your sector, staying in touch will lead to connections and opportunities in new areas as your business grows.
In 2016, Piper invested £7m into PROPERCORN, their first major injection of funds in five years of business. They partnered for 5 years, during which time they grew from £10m of sales to £24m and selling 5 million bags a month in 10 countries.
In 2019, the business successfully rebranded from PROPERCORN to PROPER, to allow it to expand into other types of snacks and they have since launched better for you chips and crisps. Their investment allowed them to grow sustainably, and they put that into their core principles and became a B Corp. In 2021, Piper sold their stake in PROPER to Exponent Capital creating a partnership with Eat Real that created Europe’s largest and fastest growing healthy snacking group.