Floom, the online marketplace and SaaS for independent florists, has raised $2.5 million in a seed funding. The round was round led by Firstminute Capital, and will be used by the London headquartered startup to continue to expand to the U.S., where it already operates in New York and L.A., and to further develop its software offering.

Additional investors include Tom Singh (founder of New Look), Pembroke VCT, Wing Chan (CTO digital experiences of The Hut Group), and Carlos Morgado (former CTO of Just Eat). Morgado has also joined Floom’s board.

Founded by 31-year-old Lana Elie in 2016, Floom bills itself as a curated marketplace for independent florists. Alongside this, the company’s technology platform gives florists the software and tools they need to create and deliver “beautifully crafted bouquets” to customers. It’s this SaaS play that Elie says sets Floom apart from competitors.

“We rely on a network [of florists], like many of the bigger competitors, so that we can offer same-day delivery without the risk of holding stock ourselves,,” she tells me. “But instead of telling the florists what to create and what to hold in stock, we built them an Etsy-like UI to design and deliver beautifully crafted bouquets to our online communities themselves”.

This sees florists provided with a “backend management dashboard” to create, allocate and manage inventory, and to co-ordinate with Floom’s marketplace. The software manages and tracks delivery, too.

“Customers receive more bouquet options, in more areas, by vetted florists, with the ultimate convenience of a seamless check-out and what everyone really wants: confirmation of safe receipt in their loved one’s hand,” explains Elie. “If the final product doesn’t match the picture, they get their money back, something that most competitors can’t offer, but we solved this by relying on the florists to generate the bouquet catalogue themselves”.

On the flower delivery front, Floom’s main competitors are Interflora in the U.K. (owned by 100-year-old conglomerate FTD in the U.S.), as well as 1-800-flowers and Teleflora. “There have been some new players in the flower space, but none solve the problem by creating better technologies,” argues the Floom founder.

“Floom’s not just a flower delivery service but a tech company. I wanted to solve a problem: showing customers all the amazing artisanal florists in their home cities, and making the experience of sending flowers enjoyable and hassle-free. On top of that, we wanted to create a fresh brand that appealed to an audience of my generation… and different from how you might typically think of the flower industry”.

With that said, Elie concedes that there is other florist software in existence, but says it doesn’t really consider the florists as a customer in the same way that Floom does. This is especially true in how the startup understands that the “brand and UI is just as important as functionality”.

“Florists are creative, skilled in a way that I’m definitely not, but when it comes to something like a website build, they’re paying the wrong people much more than they need to build badly UX’d sites,” she adds. “Florists are given no chance to really compete in a world where everything is digital. Building a management tool that speaks to all florists’ consumer facing channels (phone, email, chat, webshop, POS etc) will ultimately mean cost and time savings for the florist, less unnecessary waste for environmental purposes, and better products and delivery experiences for the customer”.