Flower, Condom Delivery Startups Get Romance Rolling-Fast

By Benny Evangelista
San Francisco Chronicle.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, two San Francisco startups hope to disrupt the business of love.

BloomThat promises to deliver a burlap-wrapped bouquet of flowers in just 90 minutes or less.

“We wanted to see how could we make sending flowers fun again,” said BloomThat co-founder Matthew Schwab.

Meanwhile, L. International promises to deliver condoms within one hour, which could be handy if the flowers work.

“There’s been a lack of innovation in the condom industry,” said L. founder Talia Frenkel. “With the brands that exist, they seem really out of touch with the modern view of sexuality.”

Both are betting that smartphone apps, algorithms and a network of bicycle messengers will help in the “Uberfication” of their respective industries.

BloomThat wants to challenge established giants like 1-800-Flowers.com, which last year reported $753.9 million in revenues, by offering floral bouquets in less time than it takes to watch a tedious movie like “Valentine’s Day” (125 minutes, in case you were wondering).

Actor Ashton Kutcher, the star of “Valentine’s Day,” is backing BloomThat, along with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and onetime Golden State Warriors guard Baron Davis. BloomThat recently landed a $2 million round of seed funding for future expansion.

The Y Combinator company is starting small, with service only available in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

In San Francisco, BloomThat works with five flower shops. Orders are sent to the shop nearest to the delivery address. The company contracts with a bike messenger service to deliver the flowers. The gifts come with notes written by hand, not printed out from a computer.

Co-founders Schwab, David Bladow and Chad Powell hope to expand by making it easier for men and women to send flowers at any time, not just on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day.

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