Reinventing a sleepy industry
The floriculture market (a.k.a., the flower market) is a massive $35Bn per year industry. Flowers brighten our day and brighten our homes. They turn a drab office into a warm and welcoming space. We buy them for special occasions and we buy them just because. We buy them for ourselves and we buy them for others. But like the airline business and the consumer banking business, there has been little innovation in this sector. Local flower shops create beautiful arrangements that match our personal tastes, but given their small size and retail store locations they remain an expensive option for most customers and they can’t deliver to friends and family across the country. National flower players like FTD and 1-800-Flowers offer a more affordable option and a national delivery footprint, but the quality of the flower arrangement declines precipitously when leveraging a network of independent florists. Two years ago software industry vets Bryan Burkhart and Sonu Panda identified the dearth of innovation in this massive category, decided to jump in and shake up this old-school industry, and founded H.Bloom. Today we’re announcing that Shasta has led the company’s most recent round of financing.
As any great entrepreneur does, they focused their efforts on the customer. They hired the best-in-class designers to create the contemporary designs that customers were craving. They created a subscription delivery service to eliminate the pain and hassle associated with retail flower buying. They built a world-class customer support organization to ensure every customer is 100% satisfied with the full end-to-end experience. They leverage technology (and a Pandora-like flower genome database) to ensure customers get the perfect floral arrangement for their unique tastes. They eliminated the retail storefront to prevent flower spoilage and to pass on those savings to their customers. They are aggregating demand across multiple markets to drive even lower prices for their customers. And they built a highly automated and technology-enabled operational machine to ensure that the experience always lives up to their customers’ lofty expectations. The end result is an amazing customer experience that I believe will fundamentally change the flower business.
Massive market ripe for disruption. World class team. Insane dedication to an amazing customer experience. All of the elements that we look for in an investment. Bryan and Sonu, we are honored to join you and the rest of your great team on this mission.