Away And Allbirds Founders Lend Green Thumbs (And $7.5M) To This Detroit Plant Startup(Forbes)

Bloomscape Founder and CEO Justin Mast

Bloomscape Founder and CEO Justin Mast

The article first appeared on the Forbes.

The determining factor as to whether a millennial is "thriving" often comes down to an ability to maintain an array of similarly thriving indoor plants. And as young people increasingly elect to have children later in life or not at all, many are choosing to take on the mantle of "plant parent" instead. That's why fifth generation horticulturist Justin Mast believes now is the time for his online plant retailer Bloomscape to finally take root.

The Detroit-based company, which Mast previously attempted to launch 2004 and relaunched in March 2018, announced today that it had closed a $7.5 million Series A led by Revolution Ventures, Endeavor and a host of all-star founders like Away's Jen Rubio, Allbirds' Joey Zwillinger, Harry's' Jeff Raider, and Warby Parker's Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa.

"Our generation has shown an amazing amount of interest in plants," says Mast, noting that for an industry estimated to be $50 billion, only 3% of plant sales are currently done online due to complexities in warehousing and shipping live plants.

"But we're seeing a growing demand for living room-ready, potted plants shipped directly from the greenhouse to your door."

In its first year of business, the company shipped over 100,000 individual plants, with options ranging from ten-inch-tall pinstripe plants at $35 to five-foot-tall bird of paradises at $195. Bloomscape grows some of the varietals, while others are sourced from sunnier climates like Florida and processed in their Michigan greenhouse.

Quality assurance is both the hardest part of running an online plant operation and the reason Amazon is unlikely to be a business-killer for the specialized brand. Mast began developing his patent-pending packaging from his parents' greenhouse, where the family began shipping plants via Fedex nearly thirty years ago.

"You're dealing with things like ethylene buildup and temperature control and root damage and keeping the soil together," explains Mast, who claims they are the only company currently equipped to ship extra-large plants. "I'm standing on decades of experience here."

Read the full article on the Forbes.

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