Brain-training app Peak sells majority stake to French publisher Hachette

Something of a sleeper hit, the makers of Peak — a subscription-based service specifically designed to entertain a user while simultaneously exercising their cognitive skills — have sold a majority stake to French publisher Hachette Livre. Created by London-based app company Brainbow, Peak has been downloaded over 15 million times and was named Best App in 2014 by Apple, while Google Play chose it as the Best Self Improvement App in 2015 and 2016 (it also won a Europas award).

Brainbow has not allowed to disclosed the price on its medium post, but Peak/Brainbow will remaining independent, so it’s not getting hoovered into the Hachette machine.

It’s understood that Peak is profitable in several of its major markets, which was clearly a draw. Revenues from digital games far outstrip the world of book publishing.

This is happening amid a dip and leveling off of ebooks for Hachette — so they definitely want to look like they are growing in digital. They are clearly very intrigued by Peak’s subscription business.

It also speaks to the difficulty of raising a Series B in Europe, when a successful game produced has to sell most of itself to a book publisher. Brainbow did have a Series B term sheet in hand but they clearly preferred Hachette’s terms.

Co-founders Itamar Lesuisse, Sagi Shorrer, Gerald Goldstein and Xavier Louis started Brainbow at the end of 2012.

The co-founders said: “We are excited to join Hachette Livre and look forward to leveraging synergies with Hachette Livre around global distribution and contents. This move will help fuel the global expansion of Brainbow’s award winning app and its future products.”

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

Hachette Livre, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lagardère SCA, is the world’s third-largest book publisher for the general public and educational markets with sales of €2,206 million in 2015.