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At time of publication, July 6th, Balloonr has raised $8K
Balloonr is a SaaS platform that improves the process of teamwork in a decision-making environment. It is based on science and research and uses the way the human brain works to solve problems. In the process, Balloonr removes the prejudices like group thinking, gender bias, and anchoring and helps to reach the knowledge that was previously unreachable.
Amanda Greenberg and Noah Bornstein founded Balloonr in 2015 with offices currently in San Francisco, California. The founders, who also happen to be married, bring experience from the public health and computer science industries with them to the company.
Their mission is to revolutionize the process of decision making for businesses. It eliminates the traditional methods of decision making, which include obstacles like group-think and brings in new aspects to the entire process. It is exciting because the company has challenged the age-old traditional ways of “getting things done” like meetings, surveys, and emails, stating that they lead to bad decisions and high costs due to inherent problems like cognitive biases, such as cult ural, group and gender biases.
Instead, the team has studied new areas of cognitive science, neuroscience, social science, public health, and psychology to develop a whole new dimension of synchronization and decision making in a more democratized way, with a strong emphasis on engendering an “idea meritocracy” of sorts.
An all-too-common problem
The problem that Balloonr is solving is something we have all experienced: how to converge everyone’s thoughts and ideas to come to a decision. Corporate cultures frequently emphasize teamwork and group thinking as an efficient means of problem-solving and decision making.
But is it the best way?
More often than not when a group gets together to brainstorm or find a solution, as soon as one member proposes an idea, it affects the thinking process of all the other members and they start looking at the problem similarly, and the creativity gets crushed. The divergence of ideas that can arise from different individuals saying what they truly believe no longer exists and little true progress is made.
This “group-think” convergence leads to prejudices and biases. The popping-up of new ideas comes to a halt, and the whole group starts thinking in the same direction. By doing this, the other tangents to the problem or the solution remain untouched, and the thought process of the group itself becomes uni-directional.
Giving everyone a voice
The solution offered by Balloonr is divergence followed by convergence!
Through this process, each team member is presented with the problem separately, which gives each member a chance to look at the problem individually. Giving each member the chance to approach the problem differently and unique. The ideas are then collaborated and converged, voted only by merit, without any prejudices. Ultimately the solution is discovered.
The process begins with starting an anonymous Balloonr, with a question or topic and inviting a group. This launch process eliminates the need for anchoring and provides an equal opportunity to all the team members to contribute their ideas.
After the “launch,” discussions happen, and ideas are submitted anonymously. In the end, based on the merit of the ideas, votes are taken in, and the team comes up with the best possible solution. At the end of the process, the members can remove the anonymity-component and take credit for their ideas.
Balloonr has received a lot of positive feedback from the customers, which include big names like Google, Disney, and BMW. They are all beginning to see the power of an idea-meritocracy.
Customers are starting to line up
The product is on-trend with diversity and inclusivity initiatives being adopted more-and-more by large corporations. This can be another tool that slots in to help manage and optimize these initiatives.
To start, Balloonr is pursuing the early movers looking to promote more diverse, inclusive and collaborative workplaces. The customers range from tech startups and technology companies to universities, hospitals, and pro sports teams. Within these organizations, oftentimes, product teams are the earliest adopters because of the high level of collaboration and decision making required to build product.
Balloonr is on a growth path and already has 15 major customers. At present, Balloonr has $250K of annual recurring revenue (ARR), with potential expansions to drive ARR to $1M by year end. The sales pipeline is also progressing with $3.4 million in process at the time of this writing.
After digging into the teams financials, we estimate gross margins to be ~62%, which puts it in-line with other SaaS tools, and will provide opportunities for positive cash flows at scale.
Driving customer adoption
With its current equity crowdfunding raise on Republic, the company plans to use the “land-and-expand” strategy by landing the initial deal with a large corporation’s single department and then leveraging inside sales to expand.
The Balloonr team will also continue development of its artificial intelligence (AI) data layer, which will provide teams an enhanced ability to identify hidden decision making data points that would otherwise remain hidden. The strength of the data set will continue to make Balloonr even more powerful and give it a deeper moat that sets it apart from future competition.
The company currently has no direct competition, which is extremely beneficial for creating first mover advantage. However, an investment in a company like this takes patience. As a first-mover solving a long-standing problem that has had no solution to date, it can take time to drive adoption.
Oftentimes, selling into organizations with a tool that hasn’t existed before requires education on top of a traditional sales process, which can lengthen the adoption cycle.
Nonetheless, the team is showing that once companies adopt their offering it tends to be very sticky. In fact, on average customers of Balloonr grow the number of individuals utilizing the platform by 461% after 7 months of use. This is a clear indicator that the team has found product-market fit that meets a real need.
Balloonr is an on-trend B2B SaaS offering with no competition, high customer stickiness, and a growing data set that will help the team to build an increasingly deep competitive edge.
The unique platform which uses technology to remove costly prejudices from the decision-making process to prevent stalled innovation, and lost-time is an exciting opportunity to be a part of the next iteration of workplace productivity tools.
If you look at the market for productivity tools like Trello, which was acquired by Atlassian for $425M and Evernote, which has raised $290M to date, it becomes clear that there is a long runway of opportunities in this industry. Balloonr, has the chance to slot-in as a next-gen productivity tool with huge market potential.
With the unique market positioning, a female founder and CEO in Amanda Greenberg, with deep experience in public health decision making and policy, a product-market fit with early customer traction, and significant signs of stickiness we think Balloonr is a “Top Deal” worth including in your portfolio. Stay tuned for our discussion with Amanda next week to learn more.