SA Florist earns $270k funding on Dragons’ Den SA

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Cape Town-based flowers marketplace SA Florist last night won ZAR3 million (US$270,000) in funding from all five investors on South Africa’s Dragons’ Den television show for its site that makes independent florists more accessible to customers.

SA Florist launched in 2012 and aims to provide independent florists with an online platform to market their goods.

“The independent florist industry is a challenging one to say the least,” founder Nicholas Wallander told the dragons. “I know this because my mum has been an independent florist for over 30 years. I’ve had to watch her close down her retail store because it just became too expensive.”

He said, however, most florists had missed the boat when it came to e-commerce, an issue SA Florist was looking to address. Wallander and business partner Fraser Black arrived on Dragons’ Den looking for the ZAR3 million in return for 20 per cent equity in the business.

The dragons were initially concerned that Wallander was not working full-time on SA Florist, and asked if he would be willing to leave his corporate job in the event of receiving funding, which Wallander was willing to do.

“I’ve built this business to pretty much operate itself, but I will,” he said.

In the end, Vinny Lingham, who earlier in the series invested US$45,000 in another Cape Town startup, rental platform Ekaya, suggested all five dragons would put in a share of the ZAR3 million in return for 50 per cent of the business, effectively giving them 10 per cent each. The offer was also dependent on SA Florist offering an employee equity package to the tune of 10 per cent. After conferring, Wallander and Black accepted the offer.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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