Wavemaker Partners’ Eric Manlunas

Wavemaker Partners’ Eric Manlunas Photo by Thomas Wasper

Santa Monica-based Wavemaker Partners co-led a $2.1 million seed funding round for software company Balloon.

The round was finalized Dec. 10 and came at the same time that San Francisco-based Balloon announced it would rebrand from its previous moniker, Balloonr.

Wavemaker is an early stage investment firm. Launch, founded by angel investor Jason Calacanis in 2013, is a consortium of executives and investors that holds an annual startup festival and invests in companies via its Launch Accelerator.

Balloon's software-as-a-service is designed to "solve systemic organizational issues" in the workplace, according to its website. The software allows organizations to conduct polls of any given group and evaluate input anonymously, then uses artificial intelligence to remove the most common cognitive biases.

"Our goal was to build a product that ensures everyone can contribute — introverts, interns, and cross-functional teams. To achieve that end, we designed the entire platform based on hundreds of teamwork, collaboration, and bias mitigation studies," Balloon Chief Technology Officer Noah Bornstein said in a statement, adding, "Our streamlined workflow reduces meeting time by 70%."

One of Balloon's local clients is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team.

PLG Ventures and Luma Launch, venture capital firms based in Santa Monica, also participated in the seed round.

"We invested in Balloon because we believe that knowledge-sharing within large organizations is critical to sustainable success," Wavemaker Managing Partner Eric Manlunas said via email. "Balloon eliminates the knowledge-sharing barriers inherent in large businesses in a relatively friction-less manner."

Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at (323) 556-8335 or samore@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated where Launch is based. Its headquarters are in San Francisco.

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