Shanghai-based e-commerce platform Flowerplus has raised RMB 35 million (USD 5 million) in its Series B1 round led by Shanghai Shuangchuang Fund, while Guohao Capital, and founder Wang Ke also participated, 36Kr reported on Monday.
The fresh cash will be used to develop the company’s plant business and expand its flowers-as-a-gift online platform, both services incubated early this year. The company also plans to expand the number of its offline flower shops, seeking to operate 200 flower shops on its own and team up with 1,000 flower retailers in the next three years.
The startup now runs 5 self-owned brick-and-mortar flower shops and cooperates with more than 100 flower shops.
Flowerplus, which was founded in 2015, started to gain users by allowing them to order online bouquets priced between RMB 99 and RMB 399 for a monthly subscription plan, to be delivered each week from farms where they were grown.
The service has gained a total of 8 million paying users on channels including its WeChat mini program and public account, and external platforms such as Alibaba’s Tmall, JD.com, and Xiaomiyoupin.com, an e-commerce site affiliated with smartphone vendor Xiaomi. A total of 40% of users had repurchased such services, said the company.
Flowerplus runs 12,000 mu self-owned flower farms and has signed thousands of flower farms as suppliers, including those in South Africa. Its new green plant business has generated RMB 30 million in revenue since its launch and the flowers-as-a-gift platform has booked RMB 50 million so far.
Founder Wang Ke told 36Kr that his company has made net profits of more than RMB 10 million in the first half of this year, growing as one of the few profitable e-commerce startups targeting a niche market. The company has collected RMB 200 million funds so far.
Focusing on a niche market has turned an option for entrepreneurs seeking the likes of established investors including Alibaba and JD.com. In this month alone, Shanghai-based Xiaopangxiong, an e-commerce platform hosting home decoration materials, raised USD 18.3 million in its Series B, while fresh produce e-commerce platform Benlai collected USD 200 million in its Series D1 round.
36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company.