The boss of a Manchester-based data analytics and artificial intelligence firm believes it has the potential to become a tech unicorn.

Richard Potter is the chief executive of Peak, which secured £2.5 million in a Series A funding round led by London-based venture capital firm MMC Ventures in September.

The firm has since unveiled a new website and brand identity which places a stronger focus on its AI and machine learning offering.

In an interview with BusinessCloud, Potter said the company’s ambition is to be a global technology champion in the AI and data analytics-as-a-service space.

“Specifically for what we do, we think it’s a nascent market with no other operators in this space because we’re offering a service powered by our own technology platform," he said.

“For that reason, I think we can become a technology unicorn grown out of Manchester and Jaipur.

“That’s our ambition and we think we can do it.”

Peak’s subscription-based service model helps companies of all sizes use data, machine learning and AI technologies to drive growth.

Launched in 2016, the company has experienced significant growth in a short period of time, securing a total of £3.5m in investment to date and rapidly expanding its team from 10 full-time staff to 45 in the last 12 months.

It has worked with The Economist, Morrisons and AstraZeneca, as well as SMEs and technology businesses such as Regit.

Potter was speaking at BusinessCloud’s ‘Artificial Intelligence: What does it really mean?’ event held last month, which attracted a 75-strong audience of business professionals.

RPotter

He said that the adoption of AI technologies amongst businesses is still in the early stages but that the subject is beginning to be talked about more and more.

“It feels like we’re on the cusp of something that’s really going to take off,” he said.

Potter said that AI needs to be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat to existing jobs.

“In many cases it’s automation and repetitive tasks that can be taken on by AI, I think we’re a long way from a general AI capability, if ever.

“We shouldn’t be worried, we should embrace it but we need it to be coupled with a wider economic and industrial strategy which sees the development of skills in young people and re-training workers so that people can concentrate on the creative jobs, the jobs that you can’t automate.”

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