Floom, the digital marketplace that connects independent florists with customers across the world, has raised £2m/US $2.5m in a seed funding round led by firstminute capital. The investment will allow the start-up to continue its US expansion and develop its pioneering tech, including the floristry industry’s first SaaS offering.
Founded by 31-year-old entrepreneur Lana Elie in 2016, whose background lies in digital content creation for the likes of Gucci and Prada, Floom is the only curated marketplace of its kind for independent florists. Floom’s technology platform – which has been compared to the likes of JustEat and Farfetch – gives florists the software and tools to create and deliver beautifully crafted bouquets to a global network of customers in 125+ countries. The start-up now works with the best florists in the UK, New York and LA to offer customers same-day delivery.
The £2m investment comes from a venture capital-led funding round by firstminute capital with Henry Lane-Fox as the lead. Firstminute capital’s $100m seed fund is backed by 30 unicorn founders and global strategics. Additional investors include Tom Singh, the founder of New Look, Pembroke VCT, Wing Chan, CTO digital experiences of The Hut Group, and Carlos Morgado, former CTO of Just Eat, who also joins Floom’s board. The funding will allow Floom to bring its highly scalable, low-risk model that requires virtually no local infrastructure to four new US cities and a new country in 2019.
The funding will also be used to develop the first vertically integrated Software as a Service (SaaS) for the floristry industry. The technology will give independent florists everything they need to compete with bigger players, whose outdated systems lead to poor customer experience resulting in reduced numbers of newly acquired customers across the sector. With independent florists often lacking the e-commerce expertise and financial means to achieve market share, Floom’s SaaS will give them everything they need to reach and delight customers, from inventory management and a wholesale shop, to website builders and POS systems – as well as preparing for seasonal peaks with trend data e.g. Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
The industry, which is worth $105 billion globally, has witnessed a 7% YoY growth, with 84% customers saying they will spend more on skilfully arranged, hand delivered flowers from a florist. Meanwhile, Floom’s revenue has increased by 463% over the past 12 months and is projecting £5m in sales in 2019.
Lana Elie, founder and CEO of Floom, said: “Achieving this seed funding is a huge achievement for us, and we’re delighted to get backing from so many experts in building tech-backed lifestyle brands. We’re really excited about developing the technology required to help not only independent florists, but also eventually other hyper-local businesses, thrive in the modern economy.”
Henry Lane Fox, lead investor from firstminute capital, said: “After finding product/market fit with its B2C marketplace, Floom is now perfectly positioned to act on Lana’s vision and build their B2B SaaS solution for its florist partners. Lana’s business model is a prime example of a “market network”; combining a marketplace, a direct network, and the lucrative revenue model and stickiness of SaaS. With her relentlessness and ability to speak the language of wholesalers, florists and end consumers alike, we believe Lana will put her mark not only on the cut flower market, but the industry as a whole.”
Carlos Morgado, former CTO of Just Eat, who is joining Floom’s board, said: “I’m really looking forward to joining the board and working alongside Floom’s passionate team. Like them, I think floristry has huge digital potential, particularly as it’s a largely traditional marketplace. Floom is creating technology that perfectly complements the creative focus of independent florists, so I’m excited to be part of their transformation journey. I’m looking forward to finding another unicorn, this time among flowers.”