Soup, The Way It Should Be: Why We Funded Proper Good

Dorm Room Fund is excited to announce our investment in Proper Good, a zero-prep, 90-second meal solution made with clean & functional ingredients in flexible, transparent packaging. 

Packaged soups today aren’t appealing to the modern consumer

Many may not have guessed this, but packaged soup is a billion dollar industry. More than 250 million Americans eat it, making it the 6th most commonly purchased ready-to-eat item in the US. 

Currently, most packaged soups use low-quality ingredients and are incredibly high in sodium; there are few “good for you” choices with real, clean ingredients in ready-to-eat form. This does not align with current consumer trends towards sustainability, alternative diets, and the desire to eat “clean” and “fresh.” Meanwhile, in the short-term, COVID-19 has increased the demand for non-perishable, high quality food that can be delivered right to front doors. 

Proper Good’s Solution: clean, easy and healthy soup 

With their high-quality ingredients, contemporary packaging, Proper Good’s soups are a compelling alternative to current packaged soups. The soup itself uses clean ingredients, no chemical preservatives and 0g of added sugar. Its innovative packaging allows for a shelf life of one year — each pouch can be stored at room temperature, and they’re small and easy to carry anywhere. The soups’ flexible, light-weight, and transparent pouches with their vibrant branding is both cost-effective in terms of shipping, as well as attractive to consumers.

Proper Good is currently selling 4 styles of soup, with vegan, keto, and gluten-free options, directly through their website. In addition, they have optimized their operational setup to create an extremely lean manufacturing process that allows them to rapidly iterate.

Co-founders Christopher Jane and Jennifer Jane

Why Dorm Room Fund Invested

Investment Thesis

Proper Good’s quick, clean, ready-to-eat soup-based meals with sustainable and vibrant packaging follows consumer trends very well. Their innovation in food packaging creates a cost effective way to manufacture and ship their meals. They have incredibly high margins and low MOQs (minimum order quantities) — which allow for fast iteration on product development. Finally, their seasoned team has a wealth of prior experience in the food industry, and is poised to be a leader in healthy, D2C meal options. 

Capital efficiency and lean operational setup  

Proper Good’s low MOQs, and 3-week lead time allows the team to launch new products with their community’s feedback extremely fast. This will help them iterate products and test new flavors quickly and cheaply with consumer-led development through text-based questions and surveys. Their entire supply chain is very lean. Per unit, each soup pouch’s flexible and light-weight design requires 90% less freight than a can, and allows for very cost-effective shipment. They have super low expenditures, strong margins, and generate revenue on every single item they send out. 

Founders with proven success in the CPG space 

Christopher Jane, a student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and Proper Good’s co-founder and CEO, is a serial entrepreneur with the exact skills and experience needed to pull this business off. Jennifer Jane, Proper Good’s co-founder and CMO, has a wealth of experience in brand, marketing, social, and e-commerce which will be crucial for establishing Proper Good’s brand and voice. Previously, they founded a condiment brand called Montana Mex together. There, they raised multiple rounds, while also scaling 7 products to more than 1000 stores across the country. Their experience in the CPG Food space gives us confidence that they have the necessary connections to expand Proper Good to retail: They know how to build a brand and community, and they understand every part of the supply chain in detail.

Strong early progress 

We were impressed by the milestones the team has achieved so far. By the time they pitched to Dorm Room Fund, they had already worked with manufacturers, created their website and e-commerce platform, completed dozens of iterations with a focus group, launched their product, and kicked off building their brand and online presence. We like their scrappy, in-house marketing that has already helped Proper Good create a strong online presence. We also admire their hustle around getting the product out — they created the packaging and soup recipes, built out a sophisticated supply chain, and already have repeat customers. 

We’re excited to work with Christopher and Jennifer as they continue to expand Proper Good’s product offering and grow their community. 

Written by Medha Kothari, Dorm Room Fund Investment Partner (SF). Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn

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