Deep Tech: Investing in Shaping Tomorrow

April 3, 2023

Hindsight. If we knew yesterday what we know today, what would we do differently? What would we invest in? What challenges would we focus on addressing?

These are all great questions, albeit hypothetical, because the reality is that we don’t have any assuredness about what tomorrow looks like, until we actually get there.


But what we do know, is that the complex challenges we face today are shaping our tomorrow. They’re impacting the future of our health and well-being, our food security and quality, and our environment. So, our opportunity is to invest in ground-breaking science and innovation that focuses on having a positive impact on ‘our tomorrow’.


As a deep-tech venture capital fund, we are commonly asked how we know “what potential investments will have a measurable, and sustainable influence on our future and provide a return to our investors?” This is another great question, which we’ll answer by explaining what we do, what founders do, and how we come together to make what might seem impossible, possible.


What sets Pacific Channel apart is our core focus on deep-tech investing – we invest early in companies that are using breakthrough science and advanced engineering to solve some of our toughest global challenges.

Specifically, we invest at the proof of concept, seed and early-expansion stages, leveraging our capital, specialist expertise and networks to support founders in the areas of food, health, and the environment. We are focused on companies that build a long-term sustainable competitive advantage through their technical innovations and can scale to global markets.


A great phrase Rob Powell, one of our investment managers, uses to explain deep tech is:

“If there were one less energy drink or one less kombucha, society would survive, but if lithium [for example] is taken off the market, society is will struggle to transition to an electrified economy. We can find a solution, but this is something which would affect us all much more so.”

Behind these innovations are smart people who tend to be different from the serial founder or entrepreneur that Silicon Valley has typified. They’re generally scientists and researchers who are passionate about their technology and have the ambition to take their idea out of the lab and translate it into real-world applications to have a global impact. But it’s often this translation stage (or perhaps a better phrase is commercialisation) that can be the sticking point, especially because of the length of time the development cycle can take.

By connecting game-changing tech with specialist venture capital investment and capability, the impossible can become possible.


In our experience, successfully commercialising deep tech and meeting the challenges faced by the founders, requires a lot more than capital. In addition to providing patient capital, our active approach is about:

  1. bringing a depth of technical, IP and commercial skills and expertise,
  2. an understanding of the risks and timeframes of deep-tech development,
  3. turn technology global reach and networks

all of which help turn technology that has potential, into a reality.


Pre-determined investment factors, due diligence checklists, and old-fashioned ‘gut feeling’, can certainly help guide investment decisions. But it also helps that we’ve built a team with lived experience in research, academia, business transformation, investment banking, and entrepreneurship and who have the capability and skillset to deep dive into the science behind the idea, the risks, and the market potential and timing.


Aside from this deep dive, we examine the uniqueness of the idea, the ability to protect it, and the potential market, and importantly, we look closely at the people – their skills, background, knowledge to take an idea to fruition, patience, their willingness to look for outside advice and guidance, and their ability to articulate their vision for the future.


Specifically, for any viable opportunity we’re analysing:

1.      The alignment of the opportunity to our key focus areas in health, environment, and food

2.      The potential size of the global market opportunity

3.      The composition of the team, their drivers of success, and their expertise

4.      The potential environmental, health and social benefits of the technology

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

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

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


To find out more about what we look for, or learn more about the pathway for approaching us with an idea, click here: What We Look For