The CEO of artificial intelligence company Peak has revealed his vision for growth after raising £55 million in Series C funding.

The latest round into the Manchester-based firm was led by Japanese tech giant SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. All existing investors, including MMC Ventures, Oxx, Praetura Ventures, Arete and Octopus Ventures, also participated.

It will fuel an ambitious global expansion, with new offices opening in both the USA 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.

After topping BusinessCloud’s 100 eCommerce Trailblazers ranking last year, co-founder and CEO Richard Potter outlined plans to grow the team to 250 by the end of this year. 

We are on track to meet our now extended goal of reaching a 300-strong global workforce by the end of the year,” Potter told us in an update this week. “We have grown our workforce to over 200 as of August 2021, making 80 new hires in total during UK lockdowns, and are on target to reach this latest goal.

“Our targets for growing the team this year are focused on expanding to the US and opening another office in India, supercharged by part of this Series C funding. There is a huge opportunity for Peak to continue growing its roots in India, in particular as well as opening up opportunities in other parts of APAC with our newly formed partnership with SoftBank. 

“Additionally, the US is the single largest homogenous market for enterprise software in the world, making it a critical market for Peak to break into in order to cement themselves as the leader in the ‘decision intelligence’ category.”

Peak’s software platform enables companies to embed AI into the core of their decision-making and operations. By making AI accessible to more businesses, Peak has seen strong demand for this ‘decision intelligence’ platform over the past 12 months, with revenues more than doubling thanks to new customer wins in Europe, the USA, Middle East and India. 

Peak has adopted a hybrid work policy to ensure more flexible hours and locations, requiring employees to work from one of its ‘clubhouses’ only three days a week with the remaining two being remote from wherever they choose. 

Potter says this aims to foster collaboration whilst also maintaining the flexibility desired by employees. 

“We are in the process of redesigning our Manchester hub, to facilitate a more hybrid and flexible working model based on employees’ changing needs following the pandemic,” Potter explains to BusinessCloud.

“The conventional desk layout has been ripped out, and the space will instead offer different environments for different phases of work, such as cocoons for periods of deep concentration, and the ‘cloud jungle’ indoor garden for creative thinking and inspiration. This new ‘clubhouse’  model will be replicated across our offices in India and the US.”

He adds: “We’re also offering the opportunity for Peak employees to work anywhere in the world for one month a year. This means our Peak team can go and experience other cultures or stay with their families abroad; we believe this is the new frontier of hybrid working.”   

Peak’s platform is used by retailers, CPG, direct-to-consumer and manufacturing businesses to drive transformational results, including examples such as 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. These gains are adding millions to the top and bottom line of these companies. Customers include Nike, PepsiCo, KFC, PrettyLittleThing, Superdry and CJ Group.

“We’re proud to be working with some of the biggest brands in the world,” said Potter. “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.

“No other software company offers a platform like Peak. We uniquely simplify the task of data scientists and engineers, who use Peak to rapidly create and deploy AI applications to business users. These applications empower day-to-day decision makers across businesses to achieve transformational gains.

“We’re delighted to welcome SoftBank as our new lead investor. The funding will help us empower many more businesses with Decision Intelligence over the coming years. It will further catalyze our growth and global expansion plans.”

Peak’s total funding raised to date now stands at $119m.

Max Ohrstrand, senior investor for SoftBank Investment Advisers, said: “In Peak we have a partner with a shared vision that the future enterprise will run on a centralised AI software platform capable of optimising entire value chains. 

“To realise this a new breed of platform is needed and we’re hugely impressed with what Richard and the excellent team have built at Peak. We’re delighted to be supporting them on their way to becoming the category-defining, global leader in ‘decision intelligence’.”