The term “deep tech” is frequently mentioned in articles about startups and innovation but lacks a clear definition. The “tech” part is obvious – it stands for technology. “Deep” however, has many layers. We use it to mean the opposite of “superficial” and “peripheral” to signify a deeper understanding of a specific topic.
Nowadays, every company working in the digital world uses modern technology, one way or the other. That is true for webshops as well as dating sites. In most cases, these companies use existing software and modify it for their purposes without creating anything spectacularly new. Their engagement with the technology they use is therefore not “deep”. Also, the technology is just a means to an end, e.g., selling products, and not the heart of their business model.
Deep Tech Describes Innovative Technology in Many Areas
For deep tech startups though, the technology is at the center of what they’re doing. Their products are mostly developed for the B2B sector and are not meant for end consumers but for commercial customers. Moreover, the level of innovation is rather high. Deep tech is often also seen as a school of thought that aims to understand how to digitalize all areas of life.
The Internet of Things (IoT), where the most diverse devices are connected, is one of the focal points for deep tech. This kind of connection requires technological innovation both for the software and the hardware side of things. Equally, deep tech is also frequently mentioned in the same breath as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. The term “deep learning” which is used in the context doesn’t resemble our term by accident – it (also) refers to the idea of using biological patterns as basis for data processing.
Just looking at the multi-layered use of deep tech and the incredibly fast pace at which technology evelops, we can assume that many things we consider to be especially complex, “deep” even, will be commonplace soon. Which might require us to retire the term in the future.
An aside: deep tech can also refer to a genre of music which mixes deep house and techno.
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