Beaubridge, the independently owned and managed private equity growth investor, today announces it has invested £1.3m under EIS in Florismart, a UK-based online marketplace for professional florists across Europe.
Florismart brings together exporters, wholesalers, and growers all on one transparent digital marketplace. This enables florists to buy from a variety of sources direct and save up to 20 per cent on cost as various layers of the supply chain are removed.
Independent florists in Europe purchase approximately £2bn worth of cut flowers per year, of which 70 per cent is currently traded through the Dutch auction house. The industry has been slow to adopt technology, and until Florismart was launched 16 months ago there was no way for those florists to buy directly from growers. The complexity of the supply chain and lack of pricing transparency have subsequently increased costs for florists and reduced the number of varieties of flowers available to consumers.
The platform was founded two years ago by CEO Steve France, who previously helped to set up the cut flower offering at Moonpig and Lakeland on behalf of Arena Flowers. France also sits on board of the British Florist Association, and is an advisor to the German Florist Association. Since its inception in 2015, Florismart has experienced a cumulative average growth of 113 per cent and now has 850 independent florists signed up.
With the aim of decreasing reliance on European flower imports, Florismart also aims to put clear logistics in place to link local florists with professional local growers. Through its FloraBritain network, which includes a group of growers in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, it makes it easier to supply and sell British flowers to florists across the UK.
An added £1m under EIS will be invested in the summer to complete the £2.3m funding. The funds, raised via the CoInvestor platform, will enable the business to expand faster and meet the growing demand from new customers.
Beaubridge’s further investment will be alongside additional financial commitments from the management team, including CEO Steve France and the new Chairman, Abraham Wijnperle. In the late ‘90s, Wijnperle was a co-founder of the first “direct-from-the-grower” online flower delivery platform in the US.
Steve France, CEO and founder of Florismart, commented: “We are delighted to be partnering with such a strong investment team, who have extensive experience in helping companies develop and grow. This investment will enable us to accelerate our expansion and bring transparent competitive prices to more florists for them to access on their own terms.”
Peter Buckley, Managing Director and Co-founder of Beaubridge, added: “We’re pleased with the investor appetite we’ve seen since opening the funding round, which is a testament of how much Steve and his team have achieved in less than 18 months. The unprecedented demand for Florismart from florists demonstrates the overwhelming support from the industry. Floristry is one of the last industries to adopt technology and the platform is overhauling the way the cut flower market works, to the benefit of independent florists.”