Dr Robert Powell on assessing viable deep tech investments

December 13, 2022
“How do we know which companies, opportunities, and ideas to invest in?”

It’s a great question, and the answer, while seemingly straightforward, is multifaceted. We’re the first to admit that it would be useful to know today what we will know tomorrow. So as a venture capital company, how do we stack the odds in favour of investing in deep tech that has a very real possibility of successfully commercialising?

Narrowing down the opportunities to determine what might be viable can take a while, and this is where the breadth of our team’s knowledge is key. The list of factors we take into account during our assessment process includes:

- Alignment of opportunity to our key focus areas in health, environment and food

- The potential size of the market opportunity

- The composition of the team, their drivers of success and their expertise

- The potential environmental, health and social benefits of the technology

- A technology development plan that articulates the pathway to product and potential risks

- The ability to maintain a long-term sustainable competitive advantage

- Pacific Channel’s ability to add strategic value beyond capital.

Read more about what we look for when assessing a potential investment here: WHAT WE LOOK FOR

In simple terms, while we’re all domain experts in certain areas, we’ve all been involved in venture capital investing and been exposed to a wide range of early-stage companies, specifically deep tech, for long enough to acknowledge that we don’t know everything, but be confident that we can find the right people who do have the answer.

This approach is extremely important, especially as we assess whether or not the idea has the potential to solve a real-world problem, whether there’s a true market opportunity for the technology and evaluate whether the team has the right ambition, capability and mindset takes experience, patience, and the ability to really understand the underlying science, engineering, intellectual property, and immediate and future capital requirements.