[credit provider=”Bryan Burkhart” url=”http://smallbusiness.aol.com/2011/01/10/27-million-and-counting-bryan-burkhart-h-bloom/”]
We grabbed coffee this morning with H.Bloom co-founder and CEO, Bryan Burkhart.H.Bloom is a subscription ecommerce company that delivers flowers to thousands of customers on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. The New York City startup was founded in February, 2010.
Burkhart was formerly a software executive. After the company hit $100 million in annual revenue and went public, Burkhart took a year off to decide what to do next.
He wanted to find a big industry that was ripe for disruption, and tackle a business idea that would be easy for others to grasp. He read an article that said flowers were a $35 billion industry and decided to take the plunge without any knowledge in the space.
“I went to dinner with my wife and her parents and my mother-in-law said, ‘I never imaged you’d be in the flower business,'” recalls Burkhart. He says he broke into a cold sweat, wondering if he was making a mistake.
But he pursued his idea for a subscription flower business and convinced his co-founder Sonu Panda, who is allergic to flowers, to start H.Bloom. Panda, Burkhart says, takes a lot of Zyrtec.
H.Bloom is now live in four markets: New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and San Francisco; it just raised a $10 million Series B round to further its expansion. Burkhart wants to be live in 25 markets within the next year.
The most brilliant part of H.Bloom is its subscription model. Unlike monthly boxes of makeup or socks, flowers actually die. The subscription model also means no inventory is wasted. Burkhart’s team can order the precise amount of flowers they need with hardly anything left over.
Burkhart’s company delivers thousands of arrangements every week starting at $29, with five H.Bloom trucks roaming New York City alone.
The company has grown to 50 employees, 25 of whom are based in New York. H.Bloom’s clients include the Thompson Hotel chain and The Four Seasons.
Its top paying clients, Burkhart says, spend between $100,000 and $500,000 per year.