4. Energy and clean-tech
The energy market needs a radical transformation and deep tech companies are using avant-garde technologies to investigate hydropower generation, and to boost the efficiency of wind and solar energy. Currently, one of the biggest obstacles to renewables is storage and a host of innovative startups are trying to solve the problem by improving batteries and optimising their use with Cloud-based technology.
As the population expands, governments must develop the infrastructure to support it. This includes transport networks, housing, sewers, power plants and supplies, and more besides. But those same governments face increasing scrutiny to reduce carbon emissions and foster sustainable solutions to population growth.
Furthermore, according to the latest G20 insights, global pandemics like COVID-19 will become more frequent as we encroach further into natural habitats. This means that whatever we choose to build next must be developed with environmental sensitivity, using sustainable production practices, while supporting a better quality of human life. This will require a massive collaborative effort from urban planners and pioneering technologists, as well as substantial investment.
G20 recommends that nations employ public-private partnerships (PPP) alongside deep technologies and green finance, to meet the challenge.
What are the challenges for deep tech?
The R&D cycle for deep tech firms is longer than regular startups, which means they’re more time and resource-consuming to set up.
Also, because of the complexity of the challenges they’re trying to address, deep tech startups may find it challenging to secure investments—even from forward-thinking angel investors—because they find it hard to understand the potential of an idea which may not have been explored. And, often, deep tech’s theoretical nature means that, without a proper technical feasibility study, development trials may end in failure. It is, by design, trying to prove the previously unprovable.
That said, investments have steadily risen over the years and traditional tech is nearing the end of its usefulness, as digital evolution gains pace. A new report published as part of the European Startups Project shows that a quarter of all European venture capital investment is being channelled into deep technologies including AI, robotics, quantum tech and blockchain.
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