What not to miss in Belgium: Peak and the brain gym, designers soon to be coders? …

by bold-lichterman

Itamar Lesuisse, CEO of Peak: “Our mission is to democratize brain training”

For this first section, I was interested in Peak, founded by two Belgian polytechnics, and whose last funding (of 7 million euros) recently made the headlines of the local eco press.

ItamarLesuisseItamar Lesuisse, founder of Peak:After my studies at ULB (Université Libre de Bruxelles), I worked for the Boston Consulting Group and then I developed web and mobile services at Amazon and Visa. With a friend, we launched Scoville, a location discovery service using geolocation that we sold in 2013 “.

How would you compare London to Brussels to launch a start-up?

There are great successes of Belgian start-ups, I am thinking in particular of TakeEatEasy whose ambitions go beyond Belgium. It is true that in London there is an ecosystem of advisers, business angels, very fleshed out investors. On the other hand, Belgium offers many systems of support for creation which are there to promote entrepreneurship. There are also some very good engineers who are not as much courted as they could be in the Valley or in London.

How did you come up with the idea for Peak?

Our first start-up did not have a clear mission to “create a better world”. We therefore decided to focus on an area that is close to our heart: that of education. We looked at different opportunities and decided to focus on adults. In the field of brain training, there is Nintendo and some American products that did not correspond to our generation. We have positioned ourselves on mobiles and more towards young users: students, professionals in working life.

peakWho are the key players in this market?

Lumosity is the biggest historical competitor. Elevate is, like us, mobile-centric with a focus on language exercises.

The science behind brain training has been around for 30 years, but the application market is very new. All these players do not steal market shares from each other, but each position themselves on a part of it. Our goal is to bring the concept of brain training to the mass market.

Who are the investors in your capital?

To date, we have conducted two rounds of funding of $ 3 and $ 7 million. Our investors include Qualcom Ventures, DN Capital, London Venture Partners and Lifeline Ventures.

Brain training apps introduce exercises and increase (or decrease) the level based on the quality of the user’s responses. Do you plan to introduce a didactic part to get the user to improve?

It is true that our focus today is training. The presentation of tutorials, based on the behavior of the user and which will lead him to improve himself is a direction that we are exploring.

What can you tell us about Peak’s business accomplishments?

To date, the United States and England are our biggest markets. Millions of users have downloaded the app, but engagement is the most important metric for us. We have tens of thousands of pro users. They spend more than 30 minutes a day training on Peak.

How many employees do you have in the company? Where do they come from ?

We have about twenty employees with more than ten nationalities! A large number of French, Belgians and then Germans, South Africans, Portuguese and – in the end – very few English.

What is your goal for Peak?

Become the leader in America and Europe in the field of brain training. We will constantly pursue the innovation of our product. We will soon announce the opening of our platform to third parties such as Cambridge and Yale universities, which are part of the first wave of partners.

We envision experiences that will not be exercises or games but rather training, always linked to the improvement of brain skills. For example, we are developing new exercises for creativity or emotional intelligence.

Even though – obviously – in our freemium model we are looking to acquire the most subscribers, it is essential for us to keep a free model for all users. PEAK’s mission is to democratize brain training.

What advice would you give to Belgian entrepreneurs?

I will try to take advantage of local specificities. Belgium has a very developed pharmaceutical industry. In other areas, we could for example look around chocolate or beer, why not …