French book publisher acquires brain training app maker Peak

By Jonah Comstock

Peak, the London-based brain training app maker, has been acquired by Hachette Livre, a Vanves, France-based subsidiary of book publisher Lagardére SCA. Hachette Livre purchased a majority stake in the company, which is officially named Brainbow. The price was not disclosed.

According to the Peak team in a blog post, the acquisition won’t change much at the company.

“Why Hachette Livre? The company is committed to expanding beyond books, and given its heritage in education and literature, it’s eager to support and develop intelligent digital entertainment,” the team wrote in a blog post. “For us, this partnership allows us to stay true to our vision for Peak: a smart self-improvement app that continually challenges and motivates our users. Operationally, Peak will remain independent, run by the original team of founders, and we’ll continue to work out of London.”

This is the second mobile app maker the company has acquired — it bought mobile games studio Neon Play in June.

“After Hachette UK acquired Neon Play in June 2016, the acquisition of Brainbow is another step in Hachette Livre’s mobile strategy,” Arnaud Nourry, chairman and CEO of Hachette Livre, said in a statement. “The co-founders are talented experts who will bring new skills to Hachette Livre. We are delighted to welcome them into the group.”

Brainbow launched Peak in 2014. The app, available on iOS and Android devices, aims to help users improve their memory, focus, problem solving, mental agility, and language skills. There are 24 games available on the app which range in difficulty level. Some of the exercises are personalized for each user. The app will also offer performance reviews and analytics based on how well the user is doing and help users set personalized goals for themselves. While the app is free to download, the program costs $4.99 for one month and $34.99 for 12 months.

Peak raised $7 million last April in a round led by Creandum with participation from DN Capital, London Venture Partners, and Qualcomm Ventures. The company raised $10.5 million total. Also in 2015, Peak worked with Cambridge University to produce a small, peer-reviewed study of its apps.

This year the company launched new games and added a personal training app called Coach. It also rolled its subscription service out to Japan, China, Korea, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. 

The Peak team ended their blog post about the acquisition with some hints about what’s to come for the company in 2017.

“Next year, we’ll be unveiling even more games and modules,” they wrote. “We know that keeping your mind fit encompasses a number of activities. Aside from challenging your cognitive skills, you need to get enough sleep, eat right, socialize, manage stress and maintain a clear mind. Here’s a hint for next year’s Peak: we’ll be releasing new activities and games in several of these areas.”