We’re excited to announce that Oxx have led a $21m Series B investment in Peak, the Manchester-based SaaS company empowering all businesses to benefit from Decision Intelligence enabled by AI! We are proud to partner with Richard, Atul, Dave and the fantastic team they have assembled, alongside existing investors MMC and Praetura Ventures, and new investor Arete. Richard Anton from the Oxx team has joined Peak’s board.
Peak is a great example of why we’re excited about enterprise data convergence as an investment thesis within the B2B software landscape. We’re at a very early stage of the market moving from Descriptive Analytics (simple enterprise reporting tools which tie together datasets in simple dashboards) through Predictive Analytics (more complex reporting tools that contain an element of forecasting) towards truly Prescriptive Analytics - platforms which allow for optimisation of complex data sets to set business outcomes and the increasing automation of the execution and monitoring of those outcomes. This is the vision of “Decision Intelligence” - and the vision Peak is delivering.
Simply put: businesses win on the basis of teams making great decisions and increasingly this means great decisions driven by data. We have written elsewhere about our investments in businesses creating data hubs to repatriate, combine and enrich data from across the enterprises’ “data estate” (Funnel, for example). But once data has been collected, perhaps in a data warehouse or unified data lake, how does a business create data insight and translate this into great decision making and competitive advantage?
One alternative for enterprises at massive scale is to bring data-driven decision making in house, and to apply teams of data engineers, data scientists, ML / AI specialists and business domain experts to specific problem sets. However, the creation and operation of these teams is a non-trivial task, with the skills required to explore available data sets, engineer features, apply machine learning algorithms, test, improve and deploy ML models and deliver to a business case requiring a significant interdisciplinary team. Wouldn’t life be simpler if we could rely on a partner to provide these data integrations and combinations off-the-shelf? And wouldn’t it be so much more straightforward to rely on that partner’s software to develop, train and deploy ML models for specific, modularised business cases, automating the decision making outputs? Enter Peak.
Peak is delivering on the promise of this vision, with customers achieving transformational results from adoption of Peak’s software: these include a 5% increase in total company revenues, a doubling of return on advertising spend, a 12% reduction in inventory holdings, and a 5% reduction in supply chain costs. Peak’s powerful platform hosts a growing set of customer-facing and supplier-facing productised applications and by partnering with Peak, customers have added millions to their top and bottom lines. With these results, it should have come as no surprise to us that Peak’s software resonated so strongly with global enterprises and sector leaders - those enterprises with a forward-thinking approach to enterprise decision intelligence. Peak’s products are already endorsed by PepsiCo, KFC, PrettyLittleThing, Footasylum, AO.com and many more. The company’s sales doubled in 2020, with new customer wins in Europe, the USA, Middle East, and India - and Peak plans to repeat that growth again this year as it accelerates to meet strong demand.
My colleague Archit worked closely with the Peak team on this transaction, particularly to understand how Peak gives customers the required infrastructure, data processing capabilities, AI workflow and applications in a single SaaS product that enables customers to become truly AI driven:
“To characterise the AI / data science value chain today, there are several tools that are emerging as standards. Python / R is the language of choice in these environments and most of the most widely-used tools are curators and optimisers of open source technology."
“On the one hand, we see self-serve workflow tools which help users manage an entire data science & machine learning lifecycle via notebook / coding / AutoML-based approaches. These tools typically target data experts, citizen data scientists and data engineers as users. On the other hand, we also see companies building AI-enabled point solutions for vertical specific use-cases, providing best-in-class solutions for pricing, assortment, marketing, etc. and targeted business users, rather than technical ones."
“What Peak has done is achieve the best of both worlds by productising best-in-class solutions within a platform that caters to both business users, as well as experts / data scientists. Peak enables business users to make the best commercial decisions by using Peak’s modules across Customer Intelligence, Demand Intelligence and Supply Intelligence, while data scientists can use Peak’s underlying platform for more complex, MLOps specific use-cases (e.g. collaboration across models, use cases)."
“Peak is building the equivalent of Salesforce for Decision Intelligence. Businesspeople use Salesforce directly, via a UI, while application developers use the Salesforce development environment to build higher value, or more bespoke workflows.”
This productisation of AI solutions, enabling Peak’s customers to benefit from AI without deploying internal technical resources, allows Peak to achieve something quite unusual: the rapid scaling of an AI company on the basis of a SaaS product with excellent SaaS fundamentals. Peak is solving three of the major scaling challenges for AI businesses mentioned by Martin Casado and Matt Bornstein in a recent article. Peak’s tightly productised, repeatable enterprise use cases, built within a highly configurable, scalable platform, have allowed Peak to achieve rapid growth while maintaining excellent SaaS fundamentals - essentially “choosing problem domains carefully” as Casado, Bornstein advise their AI company founders.
An ambitious, effective, mission-driven management team is crucial for the delivery not just of an ambitious growth plan, but in Peak’s case the definition of a new category of enterprise software. I met Peak’s founding team, Richard, Atul and Dave, in early 2019 and we got to know each other well in the months since. From the first meeting, it was clear that the founder group had the qualities we look for: visionary, values-driven, focused on organisational health and investing ahead of the curve to lay the foundations for scale. Since 2019, the Peak founders have brought together an excellent team that is passionate about working together and creating a category-defining company. This financing and partnership with Oxx will see Peak accelerate their global expansion to meet strong demand, make >100 new hires worldwide, and continue their investment in the CODI technology platform.
We’re excited to join Peak’s journey and back them in accelerating their global expansion. Our style is to invest selectively in a small number of European SaaS leaders, and back them all to be category-defining winners - and we’re confident Peak is well on their way to becoming the global leader in Decision Intelligence!
Oxx is a specialist SaaS venture capital fund, backing Europe and Israel’s most promising B2B SaaS scale-ups from Series A and beyond. Get in touch with us on https://www.oxx.vc/contact or email@example.com