PROPERCORN, the UK’s fastest growing popcorn brand, has secured financial backing from Piper and JamJar, the investment vehicle for the three innocent founders. The £7m investment – the first major injection of funds in PROPERCORN’s five years of business – is intended to support the brand’s UK and international growth ambitions.
PROPERCORN was founded in 2011 by Cassandra Stavrou, recent winner of the New Generation Award at the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards, and former sustainable property development director Ryan Kohn. The brand’s first customer was the café at Google’s London headquarters, where it immediately became the most popular snack from 48 alternatives. Since then, PROPERCORN has gone on to sell more than three million bags of its award-winning popcorn per month. As consumers continue to seek healthier and more interesting snacks, sales of PROPERCORN’s gluten-free popcorn are forecast to rise from £10m in 2015 to around £15m this year.
Following more than five years of support and mentorship from the innocent founders, PROPERCORN now looks to the entrepreneurial expertise of Piper and JamJar to help grow the brand’s global presence. Strong demand is being experienced across all 10 countries where PROPERCORN is currently sold overseas, particularly in Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland. The business employs 40 staff at its London office. As part of the deal, Adam Balon, co-founder of JamJar and innocent, will join PROPERCORN as chairman.
Cassandra Stavrou, co-founder of PROPERCORN, said: ‘I was very fortunate in getting some incredibly useful advice from Richard Reed, one of the innocent co-founders, in the very early days of PROPERCORN, and we’ve stayed in touch with the JamJar team ever since. They and Piper have consistently demonstrated they have the same passion and enthusiasm for PROPERCORN as we do, and are equally focused on making it the number one global snack brand. With their combined knowledge, expertise and network, both Ryan and I are confident we have the best investors to help us realise our ambitions.’
Libby Gibson, of Piper, said: ‘PROPERCORN is a fantastic brand, delivering innovative new products and flavours that meet a growing market need for healthier and more interesting snacking options, led by an outstandingly passionate, creative and commercial team. We are delighted to be partnering with JamJar for the first time in backing PROPERCORN. We believe our combined resources will provide the brand with a unique source of expertise and experience for its next stage of growth.’
Adam Balon, of JamJar, said: ‘In only a few short years, Cassandra and Ryan have crafted Propercorn into a wonderful business with a talented team, cohesive culture and a standout brand. With this superb foundation they have created, PROPERCORN has so many opportunities for growth and I’m hugely excited to be a part of this next chapter.’
Piper was advised on the deal by Bond Dickinson (legal) and Sentio Insight (financial due diligence). PROPERCORN was advised by Joelson.