MMC’s investment in Peak

Peak (peak.bi) today announced that MMC has led their Series A. We are extremely excited to be partnering with them as they grow their business and I wanted to share why.

At MMC we love investing in teams that we have known for a while, seen in action and built a relationship with. I first met Richard Potter (the CEO and co-founder) in early 2016 and we kept a dialogue going while he raised a seed round, won early customers and showed the huge return on investment Peak’s technology and service could deliver for these customers.

Peak is delivering this customer value with AI, and Peak is MMC’s 5th investment this year in a company where AI is a core enabling technology for their business model. Peak fits in a slightly different bucket to the others. They provide a subscription service that is enabled by their technology platform, they call it ‘data science as a service’!

Our research team recently did a deep dive on the AI services market, and this has helped shape our decision to invest. They have published a summary of this work (The 7 dynamics shaping AI Services) and we believe that the dynamics of this market play very strongly to Peak’s platform and service approach.

Finally, we assess our investments in companies applying AI against our AI investment framework (published here). This framework looks at 3 areas: value creation, value realisation and defensibility. I have had a go at summarising our investment rationale for Peak against these areas:

Value creation:

There is a lot of noise in the AI market at the moment and the only way to truly cut through it is by demonstrating actionable value to customers. Peak has always focused on producing specific, actionable insight for its customers, not just fancy charts. This focus is at the core of Peak’s culture and the founders’ DNA. Their platform also has an ability to extract and clean data at speed, allowing them to demonstrate the value they can deliver very early on in the purchasing decision, rather than asking the customer to take a leap of faith.

Value Realisation:

Peak’s founding team (Richard, Dave and Atul) are experienced leaders who have shown how to build an AI-focused company with a commercial mindset. They have a powerful blend of experience working in domains with large, complicated datasets and business information problems.

Only 5% of the $60bio analytics services market is currently powered by AI. We expect this to change dramatically over the next few years and that the mid market, in particular, will be poorly served by AI providers. Peak’s model provides a fast, affordable and supportive ‘on-ramp’ to value for mid-size buyers, and to enterprises taking their first steps in AI.

Defensibility:

Peak is focused on solving customer problems. It is building its own proprietary models that will improve with scale and access to data which should increase their defensibility in the market. Focusing on particular problem sets and verticals will be key to this. The IP they are developing around extraction and cleansing of data will be an important long term point of differentiation to their platform.

We also believe that competition for AI talent will continue to accelerate and the complexity and variety of the work Peak is doing will help them attract talent. Manchester is also a great place to be setting up a team with this focus. There is a lot of strong technical talent but less competition from the large platforms.

Summary:

We believe this is the right model in a market that will grow extremely quickly, but, as always in venture, our decision to invest centres on the team. We have got to know Richard, Dave and Atul well over the last year and I am really looking forward to working as hard as I can to help them build a big business.

Peak’s Founding Team: Atul, Richard and Dave