EP78. Ajay Kori: How to Raise Money as a Startup

After a bad flower delivery experience that nearly ended in a break-up with his girlfriend, college friends Ajay Kori and Jeff Sheely created UrbanStems as a solution to the everyday flower gifting blues: dead flowers, late arrivals and crazy-high prices. He learned the techniques to pitching potential investors and took his startup on a rosy rocket ride without the thorns. Ajay tells us his techniques to attracting large investors.

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Urban Stems is an on-demand flower delivery service. First launched in Washington, D.C. in 2014, the business quickly exploded into Manhattan and grew into a rising giant from there.

The company was first conceived when cofounder Ajay sent flowers to his girlfriend for her birthday. To maintain the surprise, he decided to wait for her “thank you!” call to wish her a happy birthday – a call that, like the flowers, never came. Capitalizing on this near-catastrophe, Urban Stems was created with cofounder Jeff Sheely to improve the major flaws in something that should be so simple: flower delivery.

Ajay quickly found that investor funding was needed to give the fledging company a full leg up and learned how to approach and successfully obtain the needed capital infusion.

Ajay tells us how to raise money as a startup, on this episode of Revenue Chat.


  • 03:05 How it all started for Ajay Kori of Urban Stems.
  • 03:28 Worked at Quidsi and mentored by Marc and Vinnie.
  • 05:05 Flowers delivered within a hour, with a text photo of the flowers upon delivery.
  • 05:45 Discussing the price hike of flowers around holidays like Valentine’s day.
  • 06:43 UrbanStems total price starting at $35 for flowers including delivery within an hour.
  • 08:42 The real reason when you order flowers online why it looks nothing like what you thought it would be.
  • 10:54 Why UrbanStems flower bouquets last far longer than traditional delivered flowers (about two weeks more shelf life).
  • 13:24 How UrbanStems can provide a great product at a reasonable price point.
  • 14:40 One of the White House designers left them to join UrbanStems and puts together their seasonal bouquets.
  • 15:03 How UrbanStems cut out the middleman to give you fresh flowers direct from the farms.
  • 16:36 At what point UrbanStems went after investor funding and why.
  • 21:25 Some successful do’s and don’ts to getting funded.
  • 23:18 Advice from a fellow entrepreneur who generates 100s of millions in revenue.
  • 26:26 How to work with investors, keep them informed, but stay on your vision and lead your company.
  • 31:28 Expansion plans to get UrbanStems across the country.
  • 32:22 Purpose and vision of Ajay Kori of UrbanStems.

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An excellent interview detailing some of the basics on obtaining investor funding, with some excellent do’s and don’ts. If you want to know how to work with investors, but be able to stay on your vision and lead your company, you will learn some excellent points here with Ajay Kori!


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