This Poker-Funded Startup Is Revolutionizing The Flower Industry
Shoraka's aunt was a florist in Irvine, California, and had been telling Shoraka how services like Teleflora and 1-800-Flowers were hurting her local business. The two friends had used those companies to send flowers before, and were always disappointed with the results."The photos online didn't match up with what was delivered," Daneshgar said. "And so we noticed in that moment there was a huge disconnect."
When someone orders flowers from a wire service, they order a stock photo of a bouquet. The order then gets sent to a local florist who fills the order. But florists have a hard time making money; wire services eat up to 50% of the profits. So for every $60 bouquet you order, a florist only gets $30. The florists have to do their own deliveries for wire service orders, too."The florists say the same thing every time: 'if a consumer just came to me directly and found me or called me they would get much better flowers.' They would be a customer and not an order," Daneshgar told Business Insider. "When you're a florist and you're getting that 50%, even if you're doing an amazing job, the customer's just going to go back to 1-800-Flowers and they'll route it to any florist. There's no retention. The florist doesn't have the incentive. "
When Daneshgar and Shoraka noticed this, it was around the same time they saw the prevalence of Etsy."We thought, 'why isn't there an Etsy for flowers?" Daneshgar said. "Why isn't there a place where the florists can come together, put their own prices, make their own deliveries?'" While Daneshgar's classmates were going to Morgan Stanley or Goldman Sachs for internships between their first and second years of business school, Daneshgar, now-BloomNation CEO Shoraka, and Gregg Weisstein, BloomNation's COO, decided to walk into a hundred different flower shops and ask what the florists there wanted.
"When they realized what we were doing, the conversation would turn into two and a half hours. They'd make us tea, they'd vent," Daneshgar said. "And they'd tell us what they wanted. But they're florists, so they could never build it. They need a group of tech savvy nerds, and that's where we came in."
Enter BloomNation.com, a marketplace that florists around the U.S. can join for free. Florists can upload pictures of their own products - no longer having to rely on wire services' stock photos - and name them, too. They could also control their own inventories, so if peonies are out of stock, they can disable that option from showing.
The three entrepreneurs initially obtained BloomNation's seed funding through an epic poker game.
One of the most interesting parts of BloomNation is the connection it offers between you and the person you're ordering your flowers from. The florist now has an app on their phone, and they can take a picture of your flowers - a "BloomSnap" - and send it out to you as it's being designed. If you have any problems with the arrangement, you can communicate it to them directly - no more disappointing flower arrangements.
And when the florist hand-delivers the flowers you've ordered, they'll notify you, so there's no more anxiety over when or if your recipient got the bouquet.
"Florists are kind of lost," Daneshgar said. "Their websites suck, they don't know how to do social media, they're writing down orders with pen and paper."
BloomNation offers a cloud-based system for its florists, allowing them to have their websites powered by BloomNation for no extra cost. BloomNation is also the only flower website to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment.
The flower delivery startup has raised a $1.65 million round from investors Spark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Chicago Ventures, Mucker Capital, and CrunchFund.
The startup is looking to raise more money within the next couple months and plans to expand its team of 14 employees to 40 within the next year, Daneshgar told Business Insider. When BloomNation inevitably outgrows its current office in Santa Monica, Daneshgar says its new office will have - what else? - a poker room.
- Best broadband plans in India in 2021 – JioFiber, Airtel Xstream Fiber and ACT Fibernet
- IPL 2021: Royal Challengers Bangalore have beaten Sunrisers Hyderabad 7 out of 18 times they played each other
- Publicis Groupe consolidates Data Science, Programmatic and Media Tech with Zenith and Starcom, under a common leadership
- Here are the 7 Indians who will be a part of Cannes Lions Jury this year
- CBSE Class 10 board exams cancelled, Class 12 exams postponed as COVID-19 cases surge