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Deep Tech 101: What is Deep Tech?

Updated: Oct 22



This is the first in a series of blogs that will dive deeper into deep tech, the trends in the space, and how it will impact our future. Our first piece by Kestra James gives an overview of what deep tech really is.


The term ‘deep tech’ is increasingly becoming part of daily conversations and news stories. Ask anyone on the street what deep tech is, and they might respond with “technology underground” or “AI.” But ask someone familiar with the term ‘deep tech,’ and you’ll hear words like “technological breakthrough,” “revolutionary,” or “life-changing.”


At least, that’s what term-originator Swati Chaturvedi, founder of Propel(X), aimed to establish at her company. For Swati, distinguishing the meaning of ‘deep tech’ from other advanced technologies, like phone apps, helped draw in a unique group of entrepreneurs that wanted to make scientific and technological breakthroughs defining the next century.


Deep tech essentially has three main goals:


Problem-Oriented.

With a focus on solving significant, fundamental problems and identifying opportunities, deep technologies seek solutions. This positioning promotes an opportunity for collaboration between the problem-oriented people in technology, like engineers and scientists.


Revolutionary. Not Evolutionary.

Secondly, deep tech is revolutionary - radically broadening innovation in business and improving the quality of life. To be revolutionary is to be novel, and that means no existing technologies can solve the problem the way this “deep tech” can.


Research-Focused.

Lastly, since deep tech is a novel technology, it needs to be thoroughly researched. Depending on market trends, investments of time, effort, and budgets in deep tech usually result in a more extended return on investment. Going through a design-build-test-learn cycle (DBTL) is always recommended to reduce risk, speed up product development, and time to commercialization, if that’s the goal.


In a similar effort to Swati Chaturvedi, founder of Propel(X) and ‘deep tech’ term-originator, I want to highlight what deep tech is by understanding what it is not. It’s not just artificial intelligence, computer science, and information technology. Deep tech also includes life sciences and industrial technology. So if you don’t specialize in robotics or nano-technology, you still have a chance to be in the deep tech game.



So why is deep tech so important?


Why have deep technology investments in the U.S. increased to more than 60 billion in the last five years? Here are just a few of the reasons:


  • It strives to solve our problems - problems that don’t yet have an existing solution.

  • It promotes collaboration between entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers

  • It can improve the quality of life for all living things, not just humans

  • It provides the opportunity for numerous applications based on the most urgent needs


It’s easy to see why the future of deep technology is expansive and detrimental to our future. Major industries in the world economy (automotive industry, robotics, healthcare, agricultural technology, energy-efficient, etc.) and even government systems are likely to interact heavily with deep technology to improve existing systems and establish new solutions to old problems.


At FedTech, we interact with deep tech businesses and entrepreneurs every day, so take a look at examples of deep technologies from our portfolio if you’re still curious to dive deeper into what deep tech is. Some of the extraordinary technologies on their way to commercialization that you will find in our ecosystem include:


  1. Anti-viral/anti-microbial compound powered by light

  2. Bandages using electrical stimulation to treat wounds and relay information

  3. Self-powered automatic shading windows

  4. Flow control battery management systems


Stay tuned for part 2 of our journey into deep tech as we feature Frank Klemens in the next blog in the series.



Author:

Kestra James, M.S. GMC

As an Analyst at FedTech, Kestra brings a background in intercultural competence, cross-cultural relationships and premier project planning and management to design programs in support of FedTech’s Accelerator team.




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