Floral marketplace BloomNation received $11 million in a round of Series B funding led by B. Riley Venture Capital. It also introduced its parent company, Promenade, and is applying its e-commerce technology to two new verticals: local pizzerias via Dig-In and liquor stores via Swigg.
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Farbod Shoraka, co-founder and CEO of Santa Monica-based BloomNation, started the company back in 2010 after seeing his aunt, a florist, have a hard time shifting her business to meet online consumer demand.
“Customers were going elsewhere to get flowers for themselves, but were using online for gifting flowers,” Shoraka told Crunchbase News. “This is one of the oldest industries to go online, and many florists work with marketplaces that find them customers, but charge a commission to receive orders and fulfill them.”
Instead, BloomNation enables florists to control how they work by taking their own photos, creating their own designs and pricing for their market, he added.
Flowers are big business. Overall, the U.S. floral market is valued at $15 billion annually, and of that, the online flower sector is expected to be a $5.1 billion market this year in the United States, according to IBIS World.
Meanwhile, BloomNation joins Poppy in receiving funding this week. Tech-enabled wedding and event flower startup Poppy, headquartered in Washington, D.C., announced $1.65 million in seed funding led by IDEA Fund Partners.
Investors pumped $109 million of known venture-backed capital into domestic floral companies via 21 deals in the past five years, according to Crunchbase data.
One of the top deals during this period was $30 million in growth financing in February 2020 to The Bouqs Co., a Los Angeles-based cut-to-order online flower delivery service. The company has raised a total of $88.1 million since being founded in 2012.
Including the new funding, BloomNation raised just over $20 million, Shoraka said. That includes a $5.6 million Series A in 2014, according to Crunchbase data.
Shoraka is using the new funding as a driver to “double down and push forward,” as well as provide tools and services for small businesses that don’t often have the resources to establish an online business, such as point-of-sale, inventory management and delivery
“Small business owners are good at their craft, but don’t have the resources, time or money to figure out social media and are often getting scammed by other companies trying to sell them on services,” he said. “We decided to rebrand under Promenade and group together the vertical software to go after e-commerce.”
Todd Sims, president of B. Riley VC, said in an interview that the company was new at venture investing and that the investment in BloomNation/Promenade was one of three. He said he admired the management team and its approach.
“What was lacking was someone providing the technology for small businesses,” Sims said. “Promenade is operating in a unique space where it is providing a tailored approach that goes a long way for these customers. Ultimately, it is providing technology to small businesses so they can go directly to consumers, which is the best possible situation.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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