Investors continue to rain money on data start-ups

David Reed, director of research and editor-in-chief, DataIQ

Belief in the value of data and analytics continues to be backed with hard cash as investors put money behind UK start-ups addressing core issues. Peak has just taken in £2.5 milllion to build out its data analytics-as-a-service, while Infosum banked $5 million to pursue its collaborative insight platform. Elsewhere, artificial intelligence start-ups are said to be launching at a rate of one every week.

With the latest Series A backing taking its total fundraising to £3.5 million, Peak is looking to continue its machine learning and AI technology strategy, as well as accelerating sales growth, by providing a subscription-based service to unify, process, model and extract insight from data. Existing clients include The Economist, Morrisons and AstraZeneca, attracting investor support from seed fund Praetura Capital last year with venture capital MMC Ventures in the lead for the latest round.

Peak BI founders“We have seen incredible traction since launching our service in 2016,” said Richard Potter, co-founder and CEO of Peak. “Our subscription revenues are growing in-line with the fastest-growing global tech businesses, which demonstrates just how strong the demand for machine learning and AI technologies is in businesses across the spectrum. In that time, we have built an amazing data science and engineering capability, while delivering some incredible results for our customers. This round of funding will enable us to further develop both our technology and our team, while accelerating our commercial growth.”

Commenting on the investment, Jon Coker, managing partner at MMC Ventures, said: “We believe that intelligent use of data will unlock huge value for companies over the next few years, and AI will be at the core of that value release. But AI is a noisy space and cutting through that noise to find providers who can really deliver measurable value for their customers is hard. That is what Peak's platform does, and we are excited to be backing its founder's vision for the future.” Researchg by MMC Ventures shows that a new AI company has been launched in the UK nearly every week.

Meanwhile, InfoSum has taken in $5 million in seed funding, on top of an existing $3 million in backing, to pursue its collaborative insight technology based around a decentralised platform similar to blockchain. By enabling businesses to access and share data securely and without compromising its integrity, through anonymising it at source, privacy risks are removed in an environment claimed to be GDPR compliant.

Nick Halstead, InfoSumNick Halstead, founder a CEO of InfoSum said: “The value of data is often held within more than one company, but sharing data is a precarious endeavour because it requires data to be centralised. This makes it vulnerable to all sorts of liabilities, including re-identification which is increasingly frowned upon by regulators around the globe. Decentralised technology will disrupt how companies share and collaborate on data, obliterating the competitive barriers currently in place.”

Investors Saul Klein of LocalGlobe and Mike Chalfen of Mosaic Ventures have joined existing backers Mark Suster of Upfront Ventures and Roger Ehrenberg of IA Ventures to help the company build its senior management team and bring its first products to market. 

Klein said: “We all understand that data is extremely valuable in helping companies develop better, more sophisticated services. The challenge is that, to unlock that potential, you’ve got to share it. The ability to collaborate with multiple data sources, while at the same time preserving its governance, security and consent, is very much the Holy Grail. The market opportunity is clear - combine that with the existing investors and the fact that Nick is one of the best minds globally when it comes to data, made getting involved a total no-brainer.”