Deep tech — the generic term for technologies not focused on end-user services that includes artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, advanced material science, photonics and electronics, biotech and quantum computing — has been an identified category for investment as long as the tech industry itself.
But as with many other sectors, it has found itself in and out of favor depending on the wider climate. In the years when mainstream tech adoption started to take off, under-the-radar deep tech became even more obscure as big-ticket apps and other services and gadgets popular with consumers received all the limelight.
Now, with “winners” in that bigger category climbing to new heights — it’s hard to imagine anyone replacing Facebook, Google, Apple or Amazon anytime soon, even as other apps grow in niche popularity — the enthusiasm of taking bets on consumer startups has leveled off. Coupled with that, investors are again looking at startups focused on a more diverse set of technologies that solve hard problems, which might prove to be the levers of instrumental change.