Why We’re Backing Bloom AI Again, The Next Essential Layer to the eCommerce Tech Stack
By: James Murphy, Partner at Forum Ventures
Imagine an online shopping experience where the photos you see reflect who you are — your tastes, style, size, background, gender identity, and more. Pretty likely to improve the chances you’ll buy that product, right? What image a consumer sees matters a lot. The team at Bloom, software that uses generative AI to personalize eCommerce images, gets that. They’re one of the first companies thinking about how the photos we are shown when shopping online are one of, if not the most important input into a purchase decision. And so, they’re bringing a new level of sophistication to the eCommerce storefront.
Bloom closed $1.1M US in seed funding in December of 2021. Founders Aarlo Stone Fish and Sam Dundas are on a mission to personalize shopping online so that every product photo a consumer sees is generated for them specifically, in real time.
Today, Bloom boosts e-commerce conversion rates by optimizing the merchant’s existing product content. It monitors user activity like clicks, zooms, swipes, and bounces, and feeds this data into their algorithm, which then uses AI to surface the highest converting images per consumer.
In the future, this same algorithm will not only predict which product photos are best for each shopper, but use generative AI to create the photos themselves, using synthetic backgrounds, props, promo labels, and more. Their system will generate content in real-time based on what is most likely to lead each individual to convert.
I met Sam and Aarlo in the Spring of 2021, and was immediately drawn to their vision. While eCommerce in the U.S. grew 14.2% in 2021, conversion efforts have largely been focused on everything on an ecommerce website other than actual product photos. There have been little advancements made to improve conversion through imagery, at least in any meaningful way, and that’s arguably the most important part of any online buying decision. We think it’s inevitable that high performing e-commerce brands will leverage generative AI to create product images that optimize conversion.
The results are already there. Bloom is boosting e-commerce conversion rates by 5–14% for their clients. And once their synthetic media piece is up and running, conversion rates will climb even further.
So, why Sam and Aarlo?
As always, we bet on founders as much as, or even more than, the company. I spent 4 months working closely with Sam and Aarlo throughout their time in the Forum accelerator. In return, I had the chance to really get to know them as founders, and as people.
Aarlo has a strong background in synthetic media and AI. He’s a multi-time founder in the adtech space, and has a ton of experience on the technical side, also graduating from Yale with a degree in Computer Science.
Sam has clarity of vision, is incredibly able to talk to customers and get in front of them early, has a clear understanding of the problem set, and can synthesize feedback and iterate on product quickly.
All this to say, Bloom and their founders is an obvious follow on investment for our Seed fund. We’re excited to keep building alongside this awesome team and look on as they successfully execute on their AI vision, garner mass adoption and build a massive company.
AIX Ventures co-invested with us in this round, a brand new fund whose GPs include the CEO of Kaggle and Covariant. Inovia is also a co-investor, a fund who has invested in unicorns like Hopper, Lightspeed, SnapCommerce, Clearco, TripleLift, and more.
James Murphy is Forum’s Managing Director and General Partner in New York City, and was the Co-Founder of Robly, a marketing automation platform based in New York City. James is an active angel investor and advisor to numerous early stage SaaS startups. Before starting Robly, he was a Vice President of Credit Trading at Barclays Capital. James graduated with a B.S. in Finance from Villanova University.