Have you ever used a flower wire service like 1-800-FLOWERS, Teleflora or FTD and had flowers arrive late, with the wrong message, or look nothing like the picture? Until just a few years ago, your only options for purchasing flower arrangements were wire services, or going to a local florist.
Enter BloomNation, a Santa Monica based start-up that’s changing the game entirely. The company was started in 2011 by best friends Farbod Shoraka, David Daneshgar and Gregg Weisstein. Since then, they have raised over $7 million from venture capitalists. BloomNation is a quickly growing company that provides a web platform for florists to connect with customers. This gives floral artists creative opportunity and bypasses the middlemen, and those pesky fees.
“It wasn’t the case of just the consumers being frustrated. The florists themselves were just as angry. I thought, ‘That doesn’t make sense. The two most important people are frustrated with the transaction and the middle man is making all the money. There should be something that needs to be changed here,’” says Shoraka, BloomNation’s CEO.
So he and two friends came up with a solution – an Etsy-like site where florists can post original designs and send pictures of arrangements to customers before they get sent out. “For us, it was a blessing that we didn’t know anything about the floral industry. I joke around and I say it’s because of how stupid we were why this company works. We were able to look at solutions as if anything were possible,” he says.
Shoraka attended UC Berkeley but rather than stay in the Bay Area, he and his co-founders chose Los Angeles as the home of BloomNation.
“It’s incredible how much support there is. We go to San Francisco all the time. All the tech companies are there. All the VCs are there…(but) it doesn’t have the same kind of camaraderie and support that LA has,” says Shoraka. “I love the fact that we are pioneering the beginning days of Silicon Beach, versus having to be a small fish in a big pond over in San Francisco.”