What is the potential of deep tech?

September 3, 2023
“If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said faster horses.”

We’ve all heard Henry Ford’s famous quote many times, and it still serves as a great example of how disruption can change our lives.

Deep tech is disruption at a whole new level.

With its ability to address complex problems, deep tech has emerged as a powerful tool in tackling global issues and it’s a really exciting ecosystem to be a part of.

At the heart of deep tech is a solution to a problem. But not just any problem – these are complex issues that are becoming increasingly difficult to manage – from climate change, resource scarcity, and chronic illness, to food insecurity. A survey of 1,277 deep tech ventures by Boston Consulting Group and Hello Tomorrow found that 97% of deep tech companies target at least one of the UN Sustainable development goals.

Economically and socially, the impact of deep tech is outsized, and the potential is far-reaching. While this might sound ambitious and could come across as audacious, like the introduction of electricity and Henry Ford’s desire to disrupt, deep tech has the power to push boundaries.

The potential of deep tech can be best explained via use cases in relevant areas - healthcare [MedTech], the environment, and the future of our food.

Future of our Health:

When technology meets human health, it can have a transformational impact on patient outcomes. Personalised medicines, advanced diagnostics and the development of new treatments and therapies are all classified as deep tech and can deliver a broad spectrum of benefits.

With the need to manage growing healthcare costs without compromising the patient quality of care, there is an increasing trend to use connected devices that are capable of fitting within existing workflow to monitor patient health and improve communication between healthcare providers and patients.

Kitea Health, Upstream Medical Technologies, Orbis Diagnostics and InsituGen are a selection of our portfolio companies that are focused on improving the speed, accuracy and precision of diagnosis and treatment.


Future of our Environment:

The problem we face is safeguarding our environment while enabling future generations to live sustainably.  Global energy consumption will continue to rise. Simultaneously, there is a growing need to minimise our waste and emission outputs.  From mitigation to adaptation, deep tech has the potential to support environmental sustainability to reduce climate-related inequity / environmental poverty while also enabling new products and services for industry.

A recent report released by PWC on startup investment highlights the growing emphasis on innovations based on science and engineering to address the environmental challenges that will affect our future. 72% of the34% of total funding that deep tech attracted, went to cleantech.

The Future of Our Environment provides insights into how our portfolio companies, Vortex Power Systems, Cetogenix, Dewpoint, Nanobubble Agritech, Tectonus and Geo40 are all working to develop complex solutions to address the fundamental problems facing the future of our environment. Plus we have companies such as Orbica, Quantifi Photonics and TasmanIon, which are developing technologies and processes that will help solve industry challenges.


Future of our Food:

As our population grows, it further emphasises that the current techniques we use to feed our population are incredibly resource-intensive. This heavy reliance on our natural resources is decimating our ecosystem and is entirely unsustainable. As our population and demand for food increases, our resources will become more finite – we will be forced to pick habitable land over agricultural land, and we will be forced to prioritise freshwater for human consumption, not agricultural practices.

Although we are facing an issue with sustainably feeding our population, we consistently waste food. It’s estimated that annually1/3rd of all food produced globally is wasted – that’s 1.3 billion tons of food every year, worth around US$1 trillion. [https://www.wfp.org/stories/5-facts-about-food-waste-and-hunger]

This paints a clear picture of the problem. Deep tech has the potential to optimise agricultural practices to increase efficiency and productivity, discover new techniques for sustainable food production, reduce the reliance on natural resources and decrease the amount of food wastage by extending the shelf-life of food and creating ways to turn waste into value.

Our portfolio companies Nanobubble Agritech, CertusBio and Bovonic are developing technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of food and crop production.


In addition to the impact on humanity, deep tech has the potential to stimulate economic growth. By creating new markets, generating high-value jobs and attracting investment, deep tech can positively impact both local and global economies.

As a venture capital company, our opportunity is to make a contribution to addressing these pressing challenges by actively seeking out investment opportunities in transformative technologies and investing our capital, expertise and our networks. Emerald Scofield on Solving Global Problems