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Startup used by Pepsi to predict consumer behaviour raises £15m

Black Swan Data

Data analytics platform company Black Swan Data has closed an $18.5m (£15.2m) growth fundraise, which will be used to bring new features to its software Trendscope and further US expansion.

Trendscope uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse “millions” of online data points to predict consumer behaviour. Its software is used by big companies such as Kraft Heinz, P&G and PepsiCo for product and market strategies.

Stephan Gans, SVP, chief consumer insights and analytics officer, PepsiCo said: “During the pandemic, for example, we saw an increase in conversations and posts about seltzer makers and new flavours in lieu of consumers being able to consume their favourite beverages out of the home.

“This insight helped PepsiCo prioritise and fast-track the development of new products like Bubly Drops to take advantage of this growing territory.”

Investment into Black Swan Data was led by venture capital fund Oxx, which invests in Europe and Israel B2B software as a service scaleups from Series A level.

“Over the last two years the market research industry has been turned upside down and legacy methods that CPG [consumer packaged goods] companies have stuck with for decades became unviable, literally overnight,” said Steve King, CEO and co-founder, Black Swan Data.

Capital also came from previous investor Albion VC, which backs B2B software and healthcare businesses.

“Believe me, more than anyone, we realise the irony of not predicting that particular black swan event, but the adoption of AI-driven observational research and predictive analytics has accelerated dramatically and this is reflected in the growth of our business,” added King.

Albion VC has previously invested in Credit Kudos, which was bought by tech giant Apple in March.

It follows on from Black Swan’s previous funding in July 2016 for £6.2m and March 2016 for £3m.