A U.K. flower delivery start-up has secured a fresh multimillion-pound bunch of investor funding just a day ahead of the industry's all-important Valentines Day frenzy.
Bloom & Wild announced on Monday the successful fundraising of an additional £3.75 million ($4.69 million) led by Burda Principal Investments and MMC to take its total outside funding levels to £6.75 million.
The company, founded in 2013 by a former management consultant Aron Gelbard and a former hedge fund partner Ben Stanway, sought to take the stress out of flower delivery by providing a service that could be easily ordered on a mobile phone and posted through the recipient's letterbox without any damage.
"My business partner and I had both had disappointing experiences sending flowers, and found it especially hard to do so from a mobile phone. When we learned that flowers go through lots of steps in the supply chain and so are often expensive and not very fresh on arrival, we wondered if we could partner with growers and do letterbox deliveries to create a new kind of flower company," Gelbard told CNBC in emailed comments.
The company focused on optimizing website and mobile technology to make the ordering process as simple as possible by minimizing the amount of information that had to be typed by the client order and by limiting the range of bouquets on offer.
Bloom & Wild, which delivers tens of thousands of bouquets a month and has enjoyed a monthly growth rate of 35 percent in recent years, according to the company also developed the boxes to ensure flowers are able to breathe and are not squished during the delivery process.
Gelbard says the company is soon looking forward to providing the same service to French and German customers as it has to the U.K. and Ireland.
"In addition to continuing to invest in technology and floristry to improve the customer experience, we'll also be expanding internationally into France and Germany and developing our corporate gifting business," Gelbard explained when asked how he and the team intended to deploy the new funds.
The company's growth come at a difficult time for the £1 billion florist industry in the U.K. with market researchers IBISWorld estimating growth from 2012 – 2017 registered a decline of 2.4 percent. Florists have been particularly challenged by increased competition from non-specialty providers such as supermarkets and garages which tend to offer the products at a lower price point.
This week, however, there should be hopefully enough business to go around for all in countries where Valentines' Day is popularly celebrated, with February 14th said to be the third most popular day for the purchasing of flowers all year in the U.S., according to data from the National Retail Federation.
Yet it can also cause some headaches for busy florists, subjected as they are to the ebb and flow of millions of individual relationship dynamics.
"We're had lots of awkward last-minute requests for cancellations - luckily our Customer Delight team are able to be very flexible!" said Gelbard.