How To Evaluate Deep Tech Startups

When you’re vetting tech startups, it’s not enough to simply note their sectors. Identifying a startup’s sector is merely the first step. 

You need to ask yourself what kind of tech has you intrigued. 

Is it a frontier technology company? Frontier technology has been described as the intersection where radical forward-thinking and real-world implementation meet. And yes, that’s open to wide interpretation. My take is that these technologies are on the cusp of significant adoption and user impact. 

Examples would be gene therapy, robotics, and 3D printing. All have seen some level of commercialization, adoption, and user impact, but there’s much more to come in the near future. The wait is almost over.

white robot near brown wall

Image Source: Unsplash

Then there’s moonshot technology. These technologies are experimental in nature. They are ultra-ambitious but come with huge risks that are not fully understood. You have no idea if they’ll work, but if they do, the impact will be enormous. 

Internet balloons and driverless cars both began as moonshot ideas. One will have a huge impact on the world. The other didn’t work out. But even for driverless cars, profitability is still many years away. 

But don’t confuse moonshot tech with deep technology. Like moonshot tech, deep tech has the potential to transform and reinvent industries. But the experiment is much further along. Deep technologies are known to work. The risks are better understood but still require further exploration. 

While deep tech companies usually own or license patents, their products are not fully proven or validated — at least not by third parties.  

Deep tech companies can come from a variety of sectors. Some of the more common ones are advanced material science, photonics and electronics, power electronics, vision and speech algorithms and techniques, artificial intelligence, biotech and quantum computing.

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