Northern Stars: Richard Potter, Peak

Northern Stars: Richard Potter, Peak

Richard Potter, MD of Manchester’s Peak, says that the reality of winning a Northern Stars award is only just sinking in. He caught up with BQ to tell us a little more about what Peak does.

Tell us all about your business, in 100 words or less...

We are a data-as-a-service company. We work with leading blue-chips and technology companies to give them a competitive edge using data and analytics. We know that many companies want to take advantage of big data and analytics to propel their businesses forward, but they don’t know how. We allow them to do this at fraction of the cost and much faster than building up their own in-house capability. Essentially, we allow our clients to completely outsource their data analytics and intelligence on a subscription basis.

And, especially if your business is particularly technical, how would you explain it to your Grandma?

Hmmm… I’d say we use data to help companies perform better.


Where did the idea come from? What motivated you to start your own business?

Our idea came from observing a gap in the market - whereby companies in the analytics and BI space were very focussed on technology, not business outcomes. Even the ones who considered business outcomes were not able to guarantee them. We wanted to approach the market differently - to use technology to achieve business success. This means putting technology at the core of a company’s value proposition and not treat it as a supporting function of the business. Our data-as-a-service platform does just that. We are saying to companies “let us manage your data and all that goes with it so that you can focus on your customers, on what you are doing.” We enable our clients to gain a total understanding of their business so they can focus on taking action based on the insight our platform provides.


Have you raised finance so far? If so, how?

No, we are self funded.


What are your most and least favourite parts of your job?

My favourite part of my job is working with our clients and getting to know their businesses. It’s interesting and highly rewarding when you deliver results for them. I also take a huge amount of satisfaction in growing and building our company and team.

My least favourite part of the job is the pressure it can put on family lift. We have 2 young boys and only seeing them for a short amount of time each day or at the weekends is hard. But that is true of any job – at lease I am doing something I love doing!


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I used to say I wanted to be a rugby player, but always knew it was unlikely given I was a terrible tackler. In reality I wanted to grow up to be like my Dad when I was little, minus a few of his bad traits!


How did it feel to be crowned one of TechNorth’s Northern Stars?

It was great on the night, but it is still only just sinking in really. It’s such a fantastic accolade for us to receive so soon and it is already presenting us with so many opportunities. We couldn’t be happier!


Which of the prizes do you think will be of most value to you and your business?

It’s hard to say – the whole package is amazing. I think we will get out of it what we put in, so we are putting a lot of energy into TechCrunch and SXSW conferences to make sure we maximise the impact of those 2 events.


What’s next for you, and where do you see your business in a year?

We have a constant stream of customer projects and R&D to get through, which should see us release our data-as-a-service platform to mass market in Q1 next year. In one year’s time, who knows! I see us being bigger – both in size and sales – but the priority is growing in a controlled way, building a strong team and creating a business people really enjoy being associated with, either as a customer or an employee.