UK’s Bloom & Wild raises $102M to seed its flower supply service throughout Europe – .

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UK’s Bloom & Wild raises $102M to seed its flower delivery service across Europe – TechCrunch

Bloom & Wild, a London-based startup that is taking an updated and online approach to the very traditional flower ordering and delivery business, has blossomed over the past year. And today she announces a major round of funding to double the opportunity.

The company has raised £ 75 million ($ 102 million), a Series D, with which it plans to continue its expansion across Europe (in addition to the UK, it now operates in Ireland, France, Germany and Austria) while it does too keep building technology getting out of business, hiring new talent, creating more ideas and new partnerships, like signing a new deal with supermarket giant Sainsbury & # 39; s to drive a new venture.

"We have been very fortunate to be able to continue trading knowing how difficult the past nine months have been for many," said Aron Gelbard, co-founder and CEO of Bloom & Wild, in an interview e-mailed. "It has been a real pleasure and privilege to keep our customers in touch with loved ones when we've all missed seeing our friends and family." We have certainly seen strong sales in our markets during times of national restrictions, but sales have stayed strong during times of relatively limited restrictions as we gained new customers and also converted many of our new recipients. "

The funding is being led by General Catalyst, which also includes Index Ventures, Novator, Latitude Ventures, D4 Ventures (founded by Hanzade Dogan) and existing investors such as Burda Principal Investments.

Bloom & Wild does not announce its valuation but is following very strong growth. The company's sales increased 160% in 2020. Around 4 million flowers were delivered during this period – more than ever before during the company's lifetime. This helped keep the company in the black, its first profitable year.

Founded in 2014, Bloom & Wild had previously only raised around $ 35 million, according to PitchBook, which estimates the pre-money valuation at $ 88 million.

Now you may be asking, “How can people think about flowers in a time like this? We are in the middle of a global pandemic because we screamed loudly. "

Indeed it is. But it seems that there is a special place for flower-based gifts, whether for other people or just for ourselves, that are especially appreciated during difficult times.

And while we've also seen people quickly walk past those extra toilet paper, face masks, and other handy purchases to click on many non-essential indulgences – from fancy food and drink to nicer furniture, as they are spending so much time too Home – I would argue that flowers hold a unique position in the pantheon of indulgence.

In the midst of a health pandemic that has severely limited the way people can interact with one another in person, receiving flowers from a person can take on a new and sometimes deeper meaning. The physical presence – the colors, the smells, the rustle of life – that they convey can be a substitute for the human interaction that we lack.

"We are privileged to have done our part in keeping people connected during this difficult time, and I am proud of our growing team who are scaling our operations while maintaining the typical thoughts and care we put into everyone have an order, "Gelbard said in a statement. "With this new support from General Catalyst and Index, we're starting 2021 with renewed energy to pursue our vision of becoming the world's leading and most popular flower company."

If you've ever ordered flowers for someone or for yourself, you know there's no shortage of options to do so. There are around 7,500 florists in the UK alone, according to the British Florist Association, and that's not the case with thousands of other online retailers (like Bloom & Wild) or the many services that tie them together into wider supply networks like Interflora or FTD. FTD was something of a consolidator here: in 2018, the company acquired an American flower delivery startup called BloomThat (which compared itself to an Uber for flowers).

While some people still prefer to buy tangible things like flowers in person, much of that has shifted to the virtual world over the years – especially for those ordering flowers to be delivered to someone – which it in a sense Makes way much easier to start them up and buy growth from online florists.

Bloom & Wild's product approach is to sell flowers as bouquets and give people the ability to deliver the smaller of those bouquets extremely easily by designing a box that fits through the typical UK post office slot (either in your front door or elsewhere)).

The bouquets of flowers it sells are instagrammatically eye-catching, created for the kind of person they might discover on this social network (where it has around 250,000 followers), and geared towards our modern situation. (For example, the bouquet pictured above is called “The Ezra”. His description: “This cocktail of vibrant oranges and soft lilacs reminds us of holidays in the sun. And of the people we would spend it with. Do you miss your travel partner? Send them this instant day brightener. ”)

There are options for ordering flowers for offices – although these almost certainly won't be ordered for as many days – and creating subscriptions like you could with any other D2C product you order online. And as soon as Bloom & Wild gets to know you and what you like, you will find out how and which flowers are presented to you in the service. Over time, it has grown into more than just flowers – it has been selling Christmas trees this season and has a few gifts in addition to its bouquets – and it's gradually building a sheer presence too.

Most importantly, the company seems to have seen a surge in interest not just because of the efficiency and focus of its service, but also because it got the product right – especially delivering flowers that people like.

Gelbard points out that the company “has the most direct supply chain in the flower industry, sourcing directly from the growers. This means that our customers get great value for money and their flowers will last longer, arrive in the bud and bloom regularly for up to ten days or more. "

He also notes that the company has built a “bespoke technology and data science platform” that focuses on making ordering quick and easy via app or web. "In a traditionally processed industry that relies on paid search, we have chosen an innovative approach to product and brand development," he says, referring to the invention of the "letterbox flower".

"Bloom & Wild has combined the traditional flower giving experience with predictive analytics and technology to bring a fresher, less-traveled bouquet to the people who matter most to you," said Dr. Adam Valkin, General Catalyst, in a statement. “What is most impressive about Aron and his team is the duality of focus since the start. They bring industry-leading efficiencies to the complex flower delivery supply chain challenges while creating a popular experience that connects with consumers in remarkably authentic ways. "

Martin Mignot, Partner at Index Ventures, added, “The Bloom & Wild team has reinvented every aspect of flower delivery and gift giving, challenging the status quo at every stage. Through tireless execution, Aron and his team have created a wonderful experience for customers and become the fastest growing flower shop in Europe. We look forward to working with you as you scale internationally. "