The wind of change is blowing on the flower industry

By Guillaume Meulle

We are very proud to announce that Bergamotte raises €5 million in series A, with XAnge leading the round. In less than 2 years of existence, the online flower delivery startup has set a new standard in the industry and is ready for an exciting expansion !

Why buy flowers on special occasions only? (in the best case)

Romain Raffard and Loïc Reperant decided to enter the online flower business after being left deeply unsatisfied by the poor user experience offered by existing players. On-demand production and delivery of high-quality flower bouquets seemed possible, and Bergamotte was born.

The whole concept for Bergamotte is to go beyond the occasional and imposed bouquet. Flowers are sold as a gifts as well as interior design items that one can get for himself. One in two clients places a new delivery order within the next 60 days. It is a major difference with traditional platforms, which are used as one-shot shops for special (and limited) occasions during the year : Valentine’s, mother’s day, etc.

In a matter of months, the startup achieved to create a unique emotional bond with its customers (the buyer of the flowers AND the person who receives them) thanks to a trendy positioning, smart growth-hacking, strong brand partnerships and user experience redesign. Bergamotte has sent 70.000 bouquets in 18 months, and already relies on 55K Instagram and 40K Facebook followers.

Execution makes perfect

Quality and trends, are of the essence. Where traditional players rely on a network of flower shops to arrange and deliver bouquets, Bergamotte strategically supervises their creation and industrialized production from its workshop, which is set in Paris right next to the Louvre.

For the model to succeed, the team had to start from the ground-up with a deeply optimised production system to meet extreme productivity requirements: where the average flower dealer loses 30% of its raw material due to high perishability, Bergamotte manages to end each day with a near zero flower stock.

Thanks to its marketing efforts and the use of algorithms, the team is able to predict peaks in demand and maximize stock efficiency. Moreover, their Dutch suppliers provide them with the freshest cut flowers (1 or 2 days maximum, vs. 4 or 5 days average in the industry!), for increased quality and durability.

Production is optimized with the use of a proprietary ERP, and the workshop teams follow precise directions to make sure the delivered bouquet is 100% consistent with the one displayed on the website. Beautiful AND faithful to the original, this is now possible on the flower delivery market, whereas traditional players have to rely on the random stocks and quality of the flowershops available in their network.

We believe in over-achievers

The team’s ability to meet these high standard is a strong case for our decision to support Bergamotte. We had met Romain and Loïc around inception in 2016, and were impressed by their ambitious roadmap on the €3 billion flower market in France, including €300 million for delivery. Their achievements go beyond what they announced then — over 70.000 bouquets delivered, and a 30 % monthly growth. This convinced us to follow through.

Loic and Romain are seasoned entrepreneurs, with a first venture experience in the tourism industry. They are on their way to replicating the successes of fellow founders of their generation (Sézane, Frichti, Evaneos, etc.) with whom they have many similarities : high-quality products & services, marketing positioning etc. They also share strong bonds, including business ties. Evaneos automatically sending a Bergamotte bouquet to its dissatisfied customers is just an example, but a good one to illustrate the potentials of the B2B market for the startup.

Coming next : B2B services & international expansion

Bergamotte has already started working on IT interconnections with other businesses, with major retailers already sending bouquets to their best customers. The founders, and ourselves, see huge potential in B2B services. But the team still needs to work hard to suppress friction and improve subscriptions. It is our role as a VC to step in and give them full support now that they are ready to sped up the pace, thanks to brilliant marketing and brilliant execution.

The funds raised will also be used to expand and develop performance, through the launching of a new (and larger) workshop in Paris, and the opening of new international markets. We can’t wait to do this.