After two successful years in Los Angeles, BloomNation launches in Chicago, the city where the idea for the online floral service originally took root. When co-founder and chief marketer David Daneshgar was studying for his MBA at the University of Chicago, his idea—developed with partners Farbod Shoraka and Gregg Weisstein—won the university’s New Venture Challenge. Now, BloomNation is back home in the Windy City just in time for Valentine’s Day.
The service allows local florists to upload photos of their own creative arrangements and set their own prices; BloomNation then takes care of the same-day, white-glove delivery. The online marketplace is national, but puts an emphasis on supporting top-tier local florists. In Chicago, expect places like Bukiety, Dilly Lily, Mudd Fleur, and Anna Held Floral. The site also offers live consultants to help the less flower-savvy choose the right arrangement, and an option called BloomSnap, which allows florists to send in-progress photos to customers to ensure arrangements are coming out as expected.
“Our launch in Chicago is extra special to me because it was here, just two years ago at the University of Chicago, that the idea ‘bloomed,’” says Daneshgar, who won the initial capital for BloomNation in a professional poker tournament. “I remember walking down Michigan Avenue talking to my colleagues over the phone and saying ‘We can do this, we can really make this happen.’ To see how far we have come from inception to reality is really a dream, and the city has played such a vital part in that success.”