Back in the early 2000s, a Berkeley student named David Daneshgar started playing poker professionally. He soon started making serious dough–between 2005 and 2009 he won about $2.5 million in professional games. By 2006, he was ranked as the fifth-best player in the world.
After retiring from the professional circuit and underground games in Hollywood, he went to the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business to get his MBA. Following his graduation, he and his two friends Farbod Shoraka and Gregg Weisstein found BloomNation, an online marketplace similar to Etsy but focused on local florists. Instead of 1-800-Flowers and FDT, services that Daneshgar says charge high fees that eat into florists’ revenue, BloomNation helps local flower businesses connect to customers in one easy-to-use location.
The startup surpassed $1 million in sales last year and continues to grow 15 to 30 percent each month. It has received $7.2 million in funding from brand-name Silicon Valley VC firms. But long before he was able to get the business to this point, Daneshgar jump-started it with one last poker game.
Read more at INC.