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What is Deep Tech? Perspectives and ideas on Deep Tech

DIGITAL VENTURES July 23, 2018 11:09 AM


We are in the generation that is surrounded by innovation or the so-called, digital era. The word “technology” has become a buzz in development for the science, economy, and industry. This year, we hear profound talks about innovation. A familiar term is Deep Technology. What actually is Deep Tech? How have people defined them? How deep is Deep Tech? and how are they affecting our lives? Let’s find out.



  • How is Deep Tech being defined?

An interesting definition of Deep Tech comes from the CEO and founder of Propel(x), an online investment platform. She has defined Deep Tech in her blog that it is companies founded on a scientific discovery or meaningful engineering innovation. Some may ask, aren’t all tech firms founded on these principles? The fact is, most companies are built on business model innovation or offline to online business model transition using existing technology. An example is Uber which is based on the sharing economy concept wherein everyone can share existing resources.

Deep Tech startups often consume years for R&D in labs and patent the intellectual property. Aside from establishing an executive committee for the business department, there are also one for the technical department. It is believed that Deep Tech startup has the potential to create change in the market and provide tremendous economic value while also giving a good and meaningful impact for mankind.  

A global news outlet, The Wired, defines Deep Tech in a human aspect. For them, Deep Tech emphasizes how technology extends human insight, bringing us closer to nature, whose mysteries we will never fully understand. Technology is empty if it considers only itself, if it is unable to prove its relationship with a human.

  • How does Deep Tech differ from other technology?

Discussing definitions make us wonder, what other ideas are out there? Let’s take a look at Quora, a famous social media, question-answer website. How have people replied to the question How would you define “Deep Tech”? Interesting replies are those who isolated Deep Tech from other technology from a tech startup perspective. In a time that technology is widely applied, Deep Tech is different because it requires scientific advancement, are unique, and difficult to build.



An example is cars for a usual tech startup may use Public Machine Learning API while, for Deep Tech startup, they may have autonomous vehicles with real-time 3D vision systems and a special R&D team with advance mathematics expertise. This highly affects business potential and investors. From an investor point of view, Deep Tech has the potential to change the world or create economic value. They can tackle global issues or disrupt businesses to create a completely new market. This is the reason why angel investor and VC are interested in Deep Tech investments. This highly valuable intellectual property has the potential to bring a high return. Also, once successful, competitors find it hard to imitate.


Nevertheless, Deep Tech has its challenges. explains that Deep Techs are discoveries and scientific and engineering advances that are tangible. It is measured by its profound enabling power, the differentiation it can create, and its potential to catalyze change. Moreover, Deep Tech possesses innovations that distinguish them from companies that focus on commercializing standardized technologies or use business model innovation to create opportunities.



  • What technology is considered as Deep Tech?

Propel(x) define that Deep Tech is founded on a scientific discovery or engineering innovation that tries to solve big issues that really affect the world. Examples are a medical device for fighting cancer, data analytics to help farmers grow more yield or clean energy that tries to lessen energy usage and ease climate change.


Some existing technologies involve computer processing, computing architecture, electronics and energy system, as well as algorithms for image and language recognition. Also, this includes AI, machine learning, haptics and many more as listed in our previous blog.

Cornell University also shared about Deep Tech that professors hope for students to view Deep Tech, not as a black box or a complex, mysterious, and untouchable technology. They want them to be able to understand their capabilities and limitations, so they can dig in and use the tools to reach the next level and increase their abilities. As this will, in turn, make them richer innovators in both the nearer and longer term. 

Nevertheless, some still question that Deep Tech could merely be a marketing term for technology that is just a little more complex. For developers, this is the best time to study, prove, and change the world. If you are passionate about innovation and believe that technology can uplift lives, this is the time to ask what your understanding of Deep Tech is and how it can affect your future. Also, don’t forget, follow the DV blog for more updates.