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More funding for flower startups: Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital back BloomNation

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Yet another startup is angling to turn the online flower industry upside down.

On Thursday, BloomNation, a Los Angeles-based company that enables local florists to reach consumers through an online marketplace, said it raised $1.65 million from a group of top investors. The seed round included Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital, Chicago Ventures, CrunchFund and MuckerLab.

The startup, which said its marketplace includes about 2,000 florists in nearly 3,000 cities across the country, describes itself as an “Etsy-type” site for flowers. In addition to enabling local florists to highlight their arrangements and creativity through its marketplace, BloomNation also provides tools that let florists build their own standalone websites, including checkout and customer management features.

BloomNation’s round follows a wave of growing interest in the online flower business. New York-based H. Bloom has been building its subscription-based flower arrangement service over the past couple of years. And in the past few months, online flower delivery service The Bouqs said it raised a round of seed funding, Y Combinator-backed BloomThat announced its debut and even Amazon (S AMZN) rolled out its own online site for selling fresh flowers.

All of these companies are targeting the estimated $8 billion online flower business currently dominated by older companies like 1-800-Flowers, FTD and Telaflora.

Farbod Shoraka, co-founder and CEO of BloomNation, said current services tend to take about 50 percent of an online sale and don’t give local florists much opportunity creativity or visibility. As people increasingly turn to the web for their purchases, BloomNation is courting florists with a service that takes a commission more sustainable to local shops (10 percent of each sale) and gives them a chance to build a creative presence online.

“Florists want to be creative artists … but current services have taken that away,” he said. “We’ve broken that model so that the consumer can see who these florists are and the florists can sell what they want.”

Since launching last November, the startup said it’s earned $1 million in revenue and that, over the past three months, florists using the service have seen 30 percent month-over-month growth.

5 Responses to “More funding for flower startups: Andreessen Horowitz, Spark Capital back BloomNation”

  1. BloomNation and The Bouqs are trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. I would venture that the majority of floral arrangement buyers are looking for a tried and true, no brainer gesture. It’s not rocket science, it’s buying flowers – as long as they get delivered – problem solved.

    — Has any ever asked a gift recipient to send them a picture of the delivered flowers to see if the purchaser received the promised price/value? I would guess no.

    — Does the average consumer care how the florists feel about the current system? Again, I would offer no.

    — Does the current systems meet the needs of most consumers/flower purchasers? Yes.

    Seems like we’re back to 1999/2000, where every MBA/former consultant thinks every business needs a venture funded, internet based solution. Good luck.

  2. blooming great, i hope the flowers are organic, don’t kill bee’s and destroy the living environment of the small lives we need for our survival. i was in a very fancy hotel a few years ago, on the patio, blooms everywhere, but not an insect in sight, made me wonder where they were hanging out, i’m a bee myself, so i guess it’s those chemicals again, perhaps this new venture will do something, real organic bee generated flowers, otherwise, its’ a lot of nothing really