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

Bloom & Wild, a London-based start-up that takes an updated, online approach to the very traditional flower ordering and delivery business, saw their business flourish last year. And today, he’s announcing a big round of funding to help him double the opportunity ahead.

The company has raised £ 75million ($ 102million), a Series D it plans to use to further expand in Europe (in addition to the UK, it now operates in Ireland, France , in Germany and Austria) while it also continues to develop. take the business out through technology, hire new talent, brainstorm more ideas and new partnerships, like a new deal with supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to lead a new brick-and-mortar push.

“We have been extremely fortunate to have been able to continue trading when we know how difficult the past nine months have been for many,” said Aron Gelbard, co-founder and CEO of Bloom & Wild, in a courier interview. electronic. “It was a real joy and a privilege to help our clients stay in touch with their loved ones when we all missed being able to see our friends and family. We have certainly seen strong sales during times of domestic restrictions in our markets, but sales have remained strong during relatively limited periods of restrictions as we have retained new customers and converted many of our new recipients as well. “

Funding is led by General Catalyst, with Index Ventures, Novator, Latitude Ventures, D4 Ventures (created by Hanzade Dogan) and existing investors such as Burda Principal Investments also participating.

Bloom & Wild does not disclose its valuation, but it is following very strong growth. The company’s revenue grew 160% in 2020, with some 4 million flower deliveries during that period – more than ever before in the life of the company, he said. -he declares. This helped push the company into the dark, its first profitable year.

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

Now you might be wondering, “How can people think of flowers at a time like this?” We are in the middle of a global pandemic, for screaming out loud. “

And indeed, it is so. But it seems there is a special place for flower-based gifts, whether for other people or just for ourselves, which are appreciated especially when times are tough.

And while we’ve also seen people quickly move past extra toilet paper, face masks, and other convenient purchases to click-buy many not-totally-essential indulgences – from fine food and drinks to nicer furnishings. because they spend so much. time at home – I would say flowers have a unique position in the pantheon of indulgence / giving.

In the midst of a health pandemic that has dramatically reduced the way people can interact in person, getting flowers from a person can take on new and sometimes deeper meaning. The physical presence – the colors, the smells, the rustle of life – they convey can be a proxy for the human interaction we miss.

“We are privileged to have played our role in keeping people connected during this difficult time, and I am proud of our growing team to evolve our operations while maintaining the thought and care we give to each order”, Gelbard said in a statement. “With this new support from General Catalyst and Index, we start 2021 with renewed energy to pursue our vision of becoming the world’s largest and most loved flower company.”

If you’ve ever ordered flowers for someone or for yourself, you know there are plenty of options for doing so. In the UK alone, there are some 7,500 florists according to the British Florist Association, and that’s not counting thousands of other online-only retailers (like Bloom & Wild) or the many services that bring them together into larger delivery networks. large such as Interflora or FTD. FTD has been somewhat of a consolidator here: in 2018, it acquired an American flower delivery start-up 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 this has moved to the virtual world over the years – especially for those who order flowers to be delivered to someone – which in some ways makes it easier to start and grow flower businesses exclusively online.

Bloom & Wild’s product approach is to sell flowers in the form of bouquets and to give people the ability to make the smallest of these bouquets extremely easy to deliver, by designing a box that fits into the letter slot. typical British (either in your front door or elsewhere.).

The bouquets he sells, meanwhile, are eye-catching on Instagram, created for the kind of person who might discover them on this social network (where he has around 250,000 followers) and targeted to our modern situation. (For example, the bouquet pictured above is called “L’Ezra.” Its description: “This cocktail of vibrant oranges and sweet lilac reminds us of vacations in the sun. And the people we would spend them with. Your Miss you traveling companion? Send them this instant brightener. “)

There are options for ordering flowers for offices – although these almost certainly don’t get ordered that many days – and for creating subscriptions, as you would with any other D2C product you order online. And once Bloom & Wild gets to know you and what you like, it will tell you how and what flowers from the service are presented to you. Over time he’s become more than just flowers – he’s sold Christmas trees this season and gives a few freebies alongside his bouquets – and he’s also gradually developing a brick and mortar presence.

More importantly, it seems that the company has seen a resurgence of interest not only because of the efficiency and targeting of its service, but also because it got the right product – especially the flower delivery that people like.

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

He also notes that the company has built a “bespoke technology and data science platform” focused on a fast and easy ordering experience on app or on the web. Finally, “in a traditionally trivialized industry based on paid research, we have adopted an innovative approach to the development of products and brands,” he notes, referring to the invention of the “letterbox flower”.

“Bloom & Wild has infused the traditional flower experience with predictive analytics and technology to deliver a fresher, less crowded bouquet to the people you care about most,” said Adam Valkin, MD, General Catalyst, in a statement. “What is most impressive about Aron and his team is their duality of focus since their launch. They bring cutting-edge efficiency to the complex challenges of the flower delivery supply chain while simultaneously creating a beloved experience that connects with consumers in a remarkably authentic way.

Martin Mignot, Partner at Index Ventures, added: “The Bloom & Wild team has reinvented all aspects of flower delivery and gifting, challenging the status quo at every step. Through relentless execution, Aron and his team have created an enjoyable experience for clients, becoming the fastest growing floral company in Europe. We are excited to collaborate with them as they move internationally. “

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