citybiz+ Riptide Ventures-backed Poppy Flowers Closes on $2.3 Million

Poppy Flowers, whose founder Cameron Hardesty began her journey as a florist at the White House Drug Policy Office in 2012, has raised $2.25 million, according to a listing on Crunchbase.

TechCrunch said the company closed on $6.5 million in Series A funding in November, with Poppy Flowers’ post-money valuation more than tripling from its seed round in 2021.

Not All Roses

Founded in 2019, months before the Covid-19 pandemic, Charlottesville, Va.-based Poppy Flowers has braved significant challenges in its business of providing floral arrangements for weddings. But it has emerged stronger for the experience, with revenues doubling in 2023, according to TechCrunch.

“I didn’t expect to raise a Series A in 2023. I didn’t expect to be fundraising in my third trimester (for the second time). Somehow, it all happened,” Hardesty, an English graduate from North Carolina’s Davidson College, said in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday.

Hardesty thanked investors, her coach Moe Bruce, and her “incredible” leadership team of Berkeley McKeown, vice president of revenue; Jay Ashe, who oversees tech and sales; and Michael Babyak, who manages growth and community.

Poppy Flowers’ backers include Michigan Capital Network, North Carolina’s IDEA Fund Partners and Front Porch Ventures, Techstars, Chicago’s Angeles Investors, Baltimore’s Riptide Ventures.

It hasn’t been all roses, metaphorically, for Poppy Flowers. In a blog post, Hardesty has recounted Poppy Flowers’ difficult path, besides underlining the broader industry challenges.

‘Challenging Industry’

“I’ll be honest with you: the floral industry is really, really hard. It’s got a complex supply chain and an exacting customer,” she wrote, while professing a “complete and total devotion to celebrating the beauty of flowers.”

citybiz+ Sponsors

Hardesty said a visit to the White House’s Red Room “changed the trajectory of my professional path,” as she witnessed exquisite floral arrangements overseen by Laura Dowling, who served as the chief floral designer under President Obama. Hardesty later volunteered with Dowling to learn the art.

citybiz+ Cohorts

After a stint at floral startup UrbanStems, Hardesty started Poppy Flowers. With a supply chain encompassing scores of family-owned flower farms in South America, Europe and California, it has served over 3,000 weddings in 52 U.S. cities. In 2021, the company was a 2021 RealLIST Startups honoree.

“I know we’re onto something because I’ve been studying and building in this space for ten years, and now our growth — and clear path to profitability — are proving it,” she said. “The ones who get it, get it.”