In Focus

Fostering Deep tech Innovation & Validating the propositions to start a deep tech venture

The Inflection point

We are at a tipping moment in technological innovation. Deep technology is being hailed as the fourth wave of innovation. The first and second industrial revolutions comprised the first wave. The second wave was mostly driven by corporate labs such as IBM and Xerox Parc, which had high-calibre multidisciplinary teams who were heavily involved in the scientific community and did basic research. The third wave saw the loss of corporate research and the growth of small disruptive firms supported by venture capital, which later defined a "Silicon Valley" paradigm focused on IT/digital and biotechnology[1].

Many software-based firms have matured over the last two decades, leaving investors looking for the next big wave. In 2022, deeptech startups in Europe have raised USD 17 billion in investment[2]. That equates to the whole world's population of 8 billion people[3] contributing approximately USD 2 in these firms. This might be the decade of deeptech startups. These firms have raised approximately USD 10 billion in funding from 2015-16 to approximately USD 17 billion and more in 2022. India is also catching up in terms of deeptech investment. According to Inc42[4], a record USD 3 billion in startup funding has been announced until May 31, 2023, with an emphasis on deeptech businesses.

Meanwhile, from climate change to food insecurity, mankind faces mounting challenges that require radical responses. This convergence paves the way for the creation of "deep tech" - technology based on cutting-edge scientific research or engineering that can enable game-changing improvements.

Meanwhile, the technology startup environment in India has grown dramatically over the previous decade, with hundreds of technology businesses incorporated each year. By the end of 2021, India had over 3,000 deep-tech start-ups dabbling in cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Big Data, quantum computing, robotics, and so on. According to NASSCOM data, around 18% of all startups in India will be into deep tech by 2022[5].

Spotlighting #Deeptech

Swati Chaturvedi, the founder and CEO of the online investment platform Propel(x), which links early stage Deep Tech with investors, created the term "deep tech" in 2015[6]. #DeepTech, #HiTech, and #ShallowTech are phrases that are frequently used interchangeably, yet they reflect different types of technological advancement.

HiTech firms are those that are founded on cutting-edge technology. These businesses frequently operate in industries such as software, electronics, and telecommunications. Shallow tech firms, on the other hand, use current technology to provide new services or increase operational efficiency.

Deeptech, often known as deep technology, refers to companies founded on significant scientific or engineering issues. These companies address complicated problems that necessitate significant research and development, frequently resulting in breakthroughs in domains such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum computing, and new materials. It's where the Internet was in the 1960s and where artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and biotech are now.

In 2020, Joshua Siegel and Sriram Krishnan issued a letter in which they defined 'deep tech' as technology that is "difficult to develop today, with the potential to become a pervasive and easy-to-implement basic need in the future."[7]

Why is it critical to promote DeepTech startups? The solution rests in their ability to have an impact. DeepTech startups are about more than just developing the next popular app or gadget. They are concerned with addressing the world's most serious issues, ranging from climate change to healthcare. They are concerned with ensuring a sustainable and inclusive future.

Deep tech startups are critical for the future because of their revolutionary potential. According to McKinsey, deep technology could have a big impact on global issues such as health, food, energy, and the environment[8]. Furthermore, DeepTech startups contribute to our economy's variety and resiliency. They generate high-wage jobs and propel technical progress, making them an essential component of economic growth and competitiveness.

#Deeptech & the future of innovation

Companies that push scientific boundaries have enormous potential for impact and value development. More deeptech innovation is urgently required in India. Building and scaling a business around an unproven technology or untested market is extremely risky. Deeptech startups require an ecosystem that is aware of their specific needs during the idea validation, proof-of-concept, prototyping, and scaling phases. They require patient money to fund longer gestation periods. They require advanced laboratory facilities for research and testing. And they require extensive technical and business mentoring, as the verified value and business case is critical to a deeptech startup.

This is why targeted programmes to assist deep tech startups are so important. The road from lab to market necessitates specific guidance on technology validation, business model development, regulatory challenges, and resource-intensive R&D funding.

iTNT Hub: India's First Deep Tech Innovation Network

At iTNT Hub, we seek to "move ideas & innovations to groundbreaking startups" through our different startup programs (currently bootcamp and an impending startup incubation program). iTNT Hub, a Public-Private Partnership founded and funded by the Governments of India and Tamil Nadu, and supported by industry, is building India's first Deeptech Innovation Network connected to the rest of the world.

We are engaging and bringing together various industries, a forward-thinking government, global alliances, our strong entrepreneurial capabilities, and India's immense, untapped potential to build a thriving innovation ecosystem that benefits the globe.

At iTNT Hub, we define Emerging Technology as the “Evolution of an existing or traditional industry, which in combination with cutting-edge technology creates radically new opportunities”. For ex: Healthcare + Edge Computing + Applied AI

At iTNT Hub, we define Deep Tech as the “Leapfrog required towards the creation of new technology that is the missing piece which unlocks possibilities that is almost unimaginable at the moment”. For ex: New Materials, Foundational Models other than LLM, New Energy Storage Mediums etc.

We are excited to launch our 6-week startup bootcamp to help budding deeptech entrepreneurs on their journey. This programme is intended to equip startups with the tools, resources, and mentorship they need to assess their ideas and plan the transformation of those ideas into viable businesses, hence boosting the odds of success later on, while the concept is still in its infancy. Participants will acquire an overall bird's eye view of market validation, product-market fit, business model development, and investor preparedness through a combination of workshops, professional assistance, and networking opportunities.

DeepTech is more than a jargon. It represents a new innovation frontier with the potential to transform our planet. As we approach this exciting future, we invite all entrepreneurs and aspiring startups to participate in our Startup Bootcamp.

If you have a deeptech idea that you want to validate, this bootcamp will help you lay the groundwork. We are looking for startups that are working in Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, ML, DL, NLP, Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality, Decentralized Web, IoT, Edge Computing, Robotics with an application in the sectors of AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming & Comics), Cybersecurity, Climate Tech, SpaceTech and Aviation, Healthcare and Lifesciences, Smart Cities & Transportation.

The program will begin on August 21, 2023. A competitive approach will pick only ten startups/innovators. Fill out the application form at ( to apply before 12th August 2023.

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