Artificial Intelligence (AI) company Peak is definitely on a high with a $75 million (£54.5 million) Series C funding round led by new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from all existing investors, including MMC Ventures, Oxx, Praetura Ventures, Arete and Octopus Ventures. This brings Peak’s total funding raised to date to $119 million (£86.5 million).
The Manchester-based firm offers a software platform for companies to embed AI into the core of their decision making and operations. Peak says this commercial application of AI to optimise business performance (i.e. decision intelligence) boosts operational efficiency, and grows revenues and profits. The AI can help across sales, marketing, demand management and supply chains.
Richard Potter, CEO and Co-Founder, Peak, comments: “Modern businesses are complex and operate in an ever-changing world. It’s becoming impossible to run them without AI, which is enabling them to make consistently great decisions, faster and more accurately than ever before.”
Peak is not in a trough at present as its decision intelligence platform has doubled revenue over the past 12 months due to new customers in Europe, the US, Middle East and India.
The organisation’s platform is used by retailers, CPG, direct-to-consumer and manufacturing businesses. Customers include some big names, such as Nike, PepsiCo, KFC, PrettyLittleThing, Superdry and CJ Group.
This latest funding will be used for global expansion, with new offices opening in both the US and India, as well as increasing R&D investment in Peak’s decision intelligence software. As a result, Peak is planning to create more than 200 new jobs globally in the coming year.
The company’s platform is known as CODI, its “Connected Decision Intelligence” system. It acts as a layer of intelligence that sits between the user’s other systems. CODI allows customers to do three main things – combine, enrich and act. For instance, businesses can combine multiple sources of data (CRM, ERP, etc) across their organisation. This can then be enriched, such as with APIs and custom applications. The final ‘act’ is to connect this new, predictive data to the user’s existing applications. Peak lists several use cases for this – one being for personalised communications only when a customer is in the market to buy. CODI has various data connectors – Snowflake, Redshift, MySQL, MSSQL, Oracle and PostgreSQL.
Its website lists three partners, namely Amazon Web Services (AWS), Intel and UiPath. Peak’s platform uses AWS SageMaker and over 50 other AWS services, including Forecast. Hosted on AWS, Peak uses c5, m5, r5 instances based on the Intel Xeon Scalable processors. Peak also enables UiPath customers to add an AI-driven intelligence layer to their robotic processing automation (RPA) solutions.
Peak was founded in 2014 and while its funding has been made public over the years, its valuation is not being disclosed.
The Lowdown on Peak’s Competitors
The UK is home to other firms set on creating a peak performance.
Quantexa, which is based in London, raised $153 million (£111.3 million) in a funding round led by Warburg Pincus in July. The company is aiming for regional expansion and to develop new products in areas including banking and insurance. It doesn’t seem to overlap with Peak’s non-tech client base at present, but they provide a similar concept.
The company offers contextual decision intelligence (CDI) software for financial companies to manage data. Quantexa’s clients include HSBC, Standard Chartered and Danske Bank. It also partners with tech firms including Appian, Google and Microsoft. It was established in 2016 and has offices in London, New York, Boston, Brussels, Toronto, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.
In Leeds, Hyper Group is a startup that uses data science and AI to assist with product ranges, pricing & personalisation decisions for retailers and brands.
Silico is another startup, but in London. It offers a decision intelligence platform and no-code software so customers can test their decisions ‘in silico’ before making them in the real world. (According to Merriam-Webster, ‘in silico’ means ‘in silicon’ in New Latin, and is a nod to the importance of silicon in the creation of computer chips.)