UK’s No 1 Data Science start-up announces major investment from Mitsui (MTSFY)

Black Swan today announced a strategic investment from Mitsui that will help support the UK-headquartered advanced analytics and prediction business to continue on its rapid growth trajectory. Investment allows Black Swan to accelerate development of its NEST platform and geographic expansion into the US and Japan.

In 2015 Black Swan was awarded Sunday Times UK No 1 startup status.

Named after a statement of improbability “it’s about as likely as seeing a black swan” dating back to 16th Century London, the company finds correlations at the intersections of public and private data and turns these insights – what it calls Black Swan moments – into valuable predictions for its clients. Their innovative approach to converting big data into “hot data” has delivered dramatic commercial benefits for some of the world’s largest brands and is helping to create the secret data recipes that drive commercial innovations. The business combines a powerful proprietary data unification platform (The NEST) with the expertise of a 210 strong team including digital developers, planners and data scientists.  Creating a unique model of technology and applied prediction services, Black Swan has been changing the way multinational brand clients are leveraging data and insight.

Interpreting available information such as news, weather and social data, then applying data science and natural language processing, the NEST provides an operational asset leveraging public information so that it can be used to create predictive models alongside a brand’s private commercial data. Black Swan drives insight and uses data to forecast seasonal events for retailers, map the spread of illness and trigger programmatic social media warning campaigns for pharmaceuticals and interpret supply chain demand and logistic distribution deep into the heart of manufacturing processes.

“We’re delighted to be working with Mitsui. After 3 years of organic growth it’s going to dramatically change the pace of our international plans. Mitsui are the perfect partner to support our plans for new product innovation and entry into new markets.” Steve King, CEO Black Swan

The business has grown rapidly since launch in 2011 and the management team, with a strong track record in fast growth digital and mobile propositions, have ambitious plans for product development. Black Swan also plans to capitalise on commercial opportunities with both existing and new global customers, with its initial focus on Europe and the US being followed by Japan and Asia.

“Mitsui is investing in global business innovation across a variety of key business sectors. We believe that the trend towards predictive data analytics will affect all industries and the way they think about corporate strategy, so it’s logical that utilising big data will become increasingly more important to maintain and strengthen businesses, which is why we are collaborating with Black Swan.” Jun-ichi Shibuta, General Manager of IT Platform Div, IT & Communication Business Unit, Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

A major funding injection from Mitsui’s IT & Communication received in March 2016 has been agreed following a round of Series B discussions. The partnership with Mitsui provides investment to allow Black Swan and Mitsui to rapidly step up plans for regional growth in the US, across Europe and into Japan which aligns to Mitsui IT & Communication’s strategic objectives to leverage the information economy and create intelligent algorithms in sectors like smart agriculture and health, committed to the belief that global trends will affect all industries and the way they think about marketing, product, supply chain.



Notes for Editors

About Black Swan Data Ltd

Black Swan has been in business since 2011 and has grown fairly dramatically over the time period from 3 to around 210 people with footprint in LA, London, Exeter, Manchester, Budapest, Singapore, and Toronto. The business proposition is a smart predictive data analytics and activation company providing an array of data driven solutions for prestige brand clients operating in the marketing space creating insight, activation and efficiencies.

Black Swan was recognised by the Sunday Times and Tech Track in Nov 2015 as the UK’s fastest growing start-up.

Black Swan has acquired a digital agency along the route, providing NPower and Vodafone’s customer service app and high street retailer Argos’s in-store click and collect services. The business also hosts a talented Innovation business, using the NEST tools to identify social and internet influencers for new product co-creation; and a crowd-funding intermediary business, Black Swan Edge.


Black Swan Data Ltd Clients

Case studies are client confidential but the Black Swan client list includes: Disney, GSK, Mars, Mondelēz, NHS, Panasonic, PepsiCo, Samsung, Tesco, Twitter, Unilever, Vodafone and WPP. Series A funding concluded in 2014 with investment from Blackstone GSO.


About Mitsui & Co., Ltd.:

Mitsui & Co., Ltd. is one of the most diversified and comprehensive trading, investment and service enterprises in the world, with 141 offices in 66 countries as of March 2015. Utilising its global operating locations, network and information resources, Mitsui is multilaterally pursuing business that ranges from product sales, worldwide logistics and financing, through to the development of major international infrastructure and other projects in the following fields: Iron & Steel Products, Mineral & Metal Resources, Infrastructure Projects, Integrated Transportation Systems, Chemicals, Energy, Food Resources, Food Products & Services, Consumer Services, IT & Communication, Corporate Development Business.

Mitsui is actively taking on challenges for global business innovation in various business sectors all over the world and utilising big data is becoming increasingly important to maintain and strengthen the business.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Bainbridge, Marketing Director

(+44) 7760 993402


Richard Mann, UK MD

(+44) 7989 387959


Jonathan Chinen

Lara is Communications Manager at Black Swan.