The Flower Delivery Apps Flourishing this Valentines Day

Breanna De Vera

Breanna de Vera is dot.LA's editorial intern. She is currently a senior at the University of Southern California, studying journalism and English literature. She previously reported for the campus publications The Daily Trojan and Annenberg Media.

The Flower Delivery Apps Flourishing this Valentines Day

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and these flower delivery services are readying for the holiday rush. Americans order over 250 million roses for Valentine's Day, according to the Society of American Florists, and this year — with more staying at home — online delivery sales are poised to grow.

"Because of the pandemic, there is a definite downward trend in face-to-face [dates] and that sort of thing," said Steve Dionne, executive director of California Association of Flower Growers and Shippers. "And it appears, as we get close to the holiday, our predictions have [been] borne out that it's definitely creating a surge in demand. The industry as a whole is expecting a very, very strong Valentine's Day, from the standpoint of consumer demand."


The proliferation of flower delivery apps, some who rely on imported flowers, has reconfigured the industry for many, but he added, it has created more distribution channels for local growers.

"The internet sellers are disruptors in the industry," he said. "But if at the end of the day that results in a positive consumer experience and more access to the product, then it's a net gain for the whole industry."

Only Mother's Day surpasses Valentine's Day in flower orders, said Farbod Shoraka, chief executive of BloomNation, but because moms are more flexible when it comes to the exact date, deliveries for Mother's Day are often distributed over the course of a week. This makes it easier for florists to arrange bouquets and coordinate deliveries while still using the freshest flowers. Valentine's Day, however, can be a challenge for florists.

"[There is] really high pressure around delivering on that special day of Valentine's," said Shoraka. "And so you go from a florist handling, maybe, you know, 10 orders a day, 15 orders a day, if you're a larger shop, they might do 20 or 30 orders, [but on Valentine's Day] it's all of a sudden, 100 or 200 or 300 in a single day."

The Bouqs Co.

The Marina del Rey service has a large selection of Valentine's Day arrangements, all within the $39 to $69 range and all made with flowers sourced from local farmers. Because of the spike in sales near the holiday, orders must be placed by February 11th. The company also offers a subscription service for weekly, biweekly, monthly or bimonthly arrangement deliveries. Subscribers also receive free shipping and a 30% discount on their orders.

The Bouqs Co. started as a Shark Tank pitch in 2014 by John Tabis and Juan Pablo Montufar. They left without a deal, but went on to pursue their idea: an online flower shop that was farm to table, without buyers in between. They have a "curated" group of local florists that complete the arrangements offered on their website, allowing for same day delivery in some cities.

Shark Tank judge Robert Herjavec remembered the company three years later, when he was buying wedding flower arrangements and was shocked at their steep prices. Herjavec became an investor in the company, which has raised $74 million to date.

BloomNation

BloomNation is an online platform for local florists. It has over 3,000 florists in its network, and offers a much wider array of arrangements than The Bouqs and Teleflora. Local florists create their own bouquets. The company does not coordinate delivery for the florists, but CEO Farbod Shoraka said it will soon announce a partnership with Mountain View-based robot delivery company Tortoise, for contactless robot delivery. Some Los Angeles florists on the platform include Huntington Flowers, Dolce Fiori, JNJ Florals and LA Floral Designs.

BloomNation got its start, in part, thanks to a poker championship.

Co-founders Shoraka and Gregg Weisstein saw that local florists were struggling to get themselves online without relying on big flower brokers like 1-800-Flowers. They added to their team World Series of Poker champion David Daneshgar, who raised a big portion of their seed round funding after entering a poker tournament in Los Angeles and winning $30,000.

BloomNation prides itself on promoting local florists' creativity and autonomy. They do not dictate the arrangements or pricing; florists choose what they post and sell on their websites.

Teleflora

Teleflora offers same-day delivery on a wide range of set bouquets arranged by local florists. The company has a network of over 10,000 member florists in North America and 20,000 affiliated florists internationally.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1934, Teleflora is one of the oldest flower delivery services, its original name being Telegraph Delivery Service. The company is privately owned, and its current president and chief executive is Jeff Bennett.

Teleflora's member florists fill local orders that are placed through Teleflora's website. The startup doesn't handle flower sourcing or delivery for its florists, but it provides the arrangement designs they should follow and the website customers order from. One of the company's key appeals is that it never delivers flowers in a box — every arrangement is hand delivered by the local florist.

UrbanStems

UrbanStems began as a bike courier service, delivering arrangements of flowers from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms to the Washington D.C. area. Now they've expanded to shipping their arrangements, plants and gift boxes to all 50 states, with prices starting at $48.

The company has raised $32 million to date, and recently announced a partnership with Kate Hudson's King St. Vodka to offer the "love fern," a nod to her role in the movie "How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days."

Farmgirl Flowers

Headquartered in San Francisco, Farmgirl Flowers offers flower shipments to the continental United States, sourcing all flowers from local farmers. Arrangements range from $45 to $250, with specific flowers varying with the seasons.

Their bouquets are seasonal — the photos on their site don't represent exactly the bouquet customers receive, and the exact blooms are dependent on what farmers have available. Founder and chief executive Christina Stembel wanted to step away from imported flowers and support American growers, she told The New York Times, and launched Farmgirl flowers from her living room in 2010.

🏰 Disney's Epic Investment Stands Out Amidst Gaming Industry Layoffs

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

🔦 Spotlight

In the midst of widespread gaming industry layoffs, a glimmer of positive news emerges as Disney announces a significant move: a $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games. 🏰💰🐭

Image Source: Disney

Disney's $1.5 billion investment in Epic Games, disclosed late Wednesday, signals a strategic alignment aimed at expanding the success of "Fortnite." The deal enhances Epic's growth prospects after financial setbacks, including layoffs, and strengthens the partnership between the two companies. With Disney gaining a larger equity stake in Epic, the collaboration will broaden the integration of beloved Disney franchises like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Avatar into the game, potentially boosting its appeal and longevity. This significant investment underscores Disney's commitment to interactive entertainment and signifies a shift towards games as a primary revenue stream, aligning with the growing trend of digital engagement among younger demographics. Moreover, the potential for crossover sales of physical Disney products within "Fortnite" and the exploration of new content distribution channels are just some of the opportunities arising from this partnership.

For LA tech, the Disney-Epic Games partnership represents a validation of the region's burgeoning tech and gaming ecosystem. The substantial investment in Epic, who maintains a large Los Angeles office with 1,000+ employees (according to LinkedIn), reflects confidence in the LA’s talent pool and innovation potential. Additionally, this partnership between two industry giants fosters an environment for further collaboration, investment, and growth within LA's tech sector. As Disney and Epic Games deepen their ties and explore new avenues for content integration and distribution, it not only elevates the prominence of LA as a tech hub but also stimulates economic growth and job creation in the region. This partnership highlights LA's unique position as a hub where technology and entertainment converge. With its ability to integrate diverse industries, LA is driving innovation and expansion in digital entertainment. 🚀💸🎮

🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • ProducePay, a financing and marketplace platform for the fresh produce market, raised a $38M Series D led by Syngenta Group Ventures joined by Commonfund, Highgate Private Equity, G2 Venture Partners, Anterra Capital, Astanor Ventures, Endeavor8, Avenue Venture Opportunities, Avenue Sustainable Solutions, and Red Bear Angels. - learn more
  • Blush, an invite-only dating app that drives users to local businesses on dates, raised a $7M Seed Round from individuals like Naval Ravikant. - learn more
  • Mogul, a startup founded last year that provides an overview of an artist's royalty earnings and identifies areas where money is owed but has not yet been collected, raised a $1.9 million seed round from Wonder Ventures, United Talent Agency, AmplifyLA, and Creator Partners. - learn more
  • Avnos, a hybrid direct air capture startup, raised a $36M Series A led by NextEra Energy and joined by Safran Corporate Ventures, Shell Ventures, Envisioning Partners, and Rusheen Capital Management. - learn more
  • AI.fashion, startup whose mission is to help retailers enhance the online shopping experience by providing consumers with virtual try-ons and personalized fashion recommendations, raised a $3.6M Seed Round led by Neo. - learn more
  • Suma Wealth, startup that aims to demystify financial topics and provide culturally relevant content, virtual experiences, and resources to help Latino users navigate financial challenges and opportunities, raised a $2.2M Seed Round . Radicle Impact led, and was joined by Vamos Ventures, OVO fund and the American Heart Association Impact Fund. - learn more
  • 222, a startup that helps users discover their city and meet new people through unique social experiences, raised a $2.5M Seed Round. Investors included 1517 Fund, General Catalyst, Best Nights VC, Scrum Ventures, and Upfront Ventures. - learn more
  • LimaCharlie, a security operations cloud platform, raised a $10.2M Series A led by Sands Capital. - learn more
  • Polycam, an app that uses a smartphone’s sensors to capture 3D scans of objects, raised an $18M Series A co-led by Left Lane Capital and Adjacent, and joined by Adobe Ventures and individuals like Chad Hurley and Shaun Maguire. -learn more.

LA Venture Funds

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a startup building software to decarbonize logistics for logistics businesses and goods business through a vetted marketplace and optimization software. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $1.5M Pre Seed Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

Venture Waves, Climate Tech Wins, and Silicon Beach's Ongoing Evolution

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Anduril Seeks $1.5B in VC Funds

Defense company Anduril Industries Inc., based in Costa Mesa and founded by Palmer Luckey, is seeking to raise $1.5 billion in fresh funds to boost its valuation to $12.5 billion or more, according to sources quoted by The Information. This fundraising effort, if successful, would mark one of the largest venture capital rounds of the year.

Image Source: Anduril

Anduril recently secured a contract to develop and test small unmanned fighter jet prototypes under the Air Force’s Collaborative Combat Aircraft (CCA) program, beating out major defense companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman. Alongside General Atomics, Anduril will design, manufacture, and test these aircraft, with a final multibillion-dollar production decision expected in fiscal year 2026. This program aims to deliver at least 1,000 combat aircraft to fly in concert with manned platforms and is part of the Air Force’s Next Generation Air Dominance initiative. Central to Anduril’s success in this contract is the Fury autonomous air vehicle, acquired through the purchase of Blue Force Technologies. This victory underscores Anduril's rapid advancement in the defense sector, aligning with Luckey's vision of building faster and more cost-effective defense assets. - learn more

Los Angeles Ranks Number 1 in Emerging Climate Tech Hub

The 2024 Emerging Climate Tech Hubs Report by Revolution highlights Los Angeles as a burgeoning center for climate tech innovation. LA's growth in this sector is driven by its diverse talent pool, strong research institutions, and a culture of environmental consciousness. The city's unique mix of legacy industries, such as entertainment and aerospace, alongside emerging tech companies, positions it as a pivotal player in the climate tech landscape. This shift reflects a broader trend of decentralized climate tech funding across the U.S., reducing the historical dominance of California's traditional hubs. - learn more

Silicon Beach: Looking Back, Moving Forward

Assessing the overall health of the startup market is challenging, especially as venture capital funding has decreased by an average of 61% from 2021 to 2023 across the top VC markets in the US. Markets with robust ecosystems in AI, SaaS, Biotech, Healthtech, and Fintech appear to be weathering the downturn better than those focused on Consumer and Gaming industries, areas where Los Angeles traditionally excels.

Percent Change In VC Funding By Region

CB Insights

LA Times paints a rather bleak outlook on the Los Angeles tech scene noting venture capital funding in Greater Los Angeles plummeted 73% from 2021 to 2022. Silicon Beach, once a vibrant tech corridor, currently faces high vacancy rates and lacks late-stage financiers, especially in the AI sector. However, there are positive signs, including growth in aerospace startups and increased venture capital investment in early 2024, suggesting a potential rebound for LA's tech ecosystem.

While LA may not be exceeding expectations during this period, its tech ecosystem warrants a nuanced evaluation, given the broader market dynamics and its strong performance in specific sectors. Reach out to us with your thoughts.

🚀 SpaceX gears up for another stellar year, active raises, and more

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Happy Friday Los Angeles! You made it through the first week of 2024!

🔦 Spotlight

Elon Musk may be a divisive (albeit entertaining) figure, but the continued success of SpaceX is pivotal for the aerospace industry in Los Angeles and more broadly around the world.

Image Source: SpaceX webcast

What happened with SpaceX in 2023?

  • Elon Musk challenged Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg to a cage fight.
  • SpaceX launched 96 successful missions with its Falcon series of rockets, a 57% increase over its previous annual record.
  • SpaceX conducted two test flights of the largest and most powerful rocket ever built, Starship.
  • Roughly two-thirds of SpaceX's launches in 2023 were devoted to building out Starlink, the company's satellite-internet megaconstellation.
  • Isaacson’s Elon Musk biography was published in September including everything from Musk’s tumultuous relationship with his father to his work ethic and “demon mode”.

Moving forward what can we expect from SpaceX and its controversial founder? Continued innovation pushing the aerospace industry to new limits? Yes. More drama? Without a doubt.

Here is some of what is to come in 2024:

🤝 Venture Deals

Just Announced

Check back next week!

LA Exits

  • CG Oncology, an Irvine, CA-based developer of immunotherapies for bladder cancer, filed for a $100M IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (CGON) with Morgan Stanley as left lead underwriter, and has raised around $317m in VC funding. - learn more
  • McNally Capital agreed to sell Advanced Micro Instruments, a Costa Mesa, CA-based maker of gas analyzers and sensing technologies, to Enpro (NYSE: NPO). - learn more

Actively Raising

  • ReelCall, Inc., an entertainment technology company focused on powerful apps and platforms that help build and maintain the professional network of connections vital to career growth, is raising a $850K Pre-Seed Round. - learn more
  • CZero, a hard-tech startup that is developing a technology for decarbonizing natural gas, is raising a $1.5M Seed Round. - learn more
  • Couri, a technology startup addressing last-mile delivery issues, is raising a $450K Pre-Seed Round at a $2.2M post money valuation. - learn more
  • Sweetie, a marketplace to help people plan date nights, is raising a $250K Angel Round. - learn more
  • StartupStarter, an investment platform that provides real-time data and analytics on startups, is raising an $850K Angel Round. - learn more

If you’re a founder raising money in Los Angeles, give us a shout, and we’d love to include you in the newsletter!

📅 LA Tech Calendar

Sunday, January 7th

Wednesday, January 10th

  • Startup Cafe: Networking with a Kick - Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Tech Enthusiasts join together to meet and connect with like-minded people, industry professionals and investors, while enjoying a nice cup of coffee in Venice at The KINN. This week’s interactive discussion about AI’s evolution in entertainment will feature Dr. Sam Khoze and Rachel Joy Victor.
  • Venice Tech Happy Hour- Join Startup Coil and FoundrHaus Wednesday evening and enjoy the sunset from the rooftop, grab a bite overlooking Abbot Kinney, and mingle with other tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs by the bar on the patio.

Have an awesome event coming up? Reach out to be featured on next week’s Newsletter!

📙 What We’re Reading

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