Lesson learned about Deep Tech Startup from Silicon Valley to Thailand

Deep Tech is becoming a frequently-used term today. The growth and investment spending in Deep Tech startups is also surpassing other industries due to being high technology, its differentiation, and capability in solving the global problems with scientifically-proven methods. It can also benefit business circles and various other industries bringing new phenomena to the global economy.

Various global companies have agreed that startup that Deep Tech startups will grow further this year and have potential to change the world be they medical, construction, synthetic agriculture, microchip, artificial intelligence, rocket technology and quantum computer.

At present, countries which are considered Deep Tech Startup countries include United States, Europe, Singapore, Taiwan, Israel and China. The industry has seen significant growth and has the potential to change the world towards better quality in the future.

Meanwhile, Thai venture capitalists or investors are also interested in investing in Deep Tech startups though most of them are in other countries. However, they hope to see and make more investment in Thai Deep Tech startups with the belief that it can help change the world in various aspects.

Particularly, those with regards to human body, healthcare, health-related technology, labour replacement, climate change solutions that help lessen impact on agricultural and industrial sectors.

The center of startup business and high technology creation that serve human needs and improve the quality of life while also adding value to the Deep Tech businesses is at Silicon Valley in San Francisco, US. It is the center of high technology which are created to solve human pain point and better people’s lives.

Deep Tech Startup Insight: Lessons from Silicon Valley

Hunter McDoniel UviQD, a leading US-based Deep Tech Startup and developer of quantum dot technology, and Craig Mosman, Business Development Director of CibusDX, the developer of food safety monitoring system which is a Series A startup, recently talked Forbes Thailand about the secrets of being a sustainable Deep Tech startup that can really change the world.

“If you want to be a Deep Tech Startup, you must develop product that customers like first. Next, you should look smart partners to help point out how your products can help change the world before you go out looking for investors,” said McDoNiel, the owner of UbiQD, a Series A startup which discover materials developed from quantum dot technology such as mirror and plastic film for high-rise buildings around the world and the mirrors surrounding the building can change into power supply. The company’s products have been certified by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANK) one of the world’s largest research center under the Ministry of Energy, United States.

UbiQD has got level 5 or US$15 million financial support from US investors continuously. It has also raised more capital as more investors are interested in the technologies that UbiQD has developed. The company is located in Los Alomos, New Mexico, which is a small but famous as a community that is specialized in high science and technology development.

He said quantum dot has existed for a long time and will be an important technology in the future. Quantum dot are not only used in semiconductor but has been applied with solar cell or long-distance communication device as well. Quantum technology which is the patent of UbiQD can help increase the spectrum of solar light that can increase agricultural productivity at faster speed. At present, the agricultural industry in Europe are the major market. In the agricultural nursery, the technology can adjust solar spectrum to fit with each type of plant such as it helps speed up the productivity and increase production of tomatoes in Europe, resulting in more income for farmers there.

Meanwhile, mirror from quantum technology can also produce sun light thus it can respond to the Smart City environment which several countries are developing towards this platform.

“To make it so successful that it attract investors, deep tech startups needs more time and money to earn credibility and develop products. They also required to have the right strategy and investment money, clearly prioritize your investment budget. The products must be obvious and functional and the business model must be clear. Once this is alright, you can focus on investors. The problem for Deep Tech startup is at the start of the business and how to add value to the business continuously. Once this is achieved, deep tech startup can step up to be a unicorn,” McDoniel said.

Craig Mosman said it takes time for his company to develop technology that is specialized in detecting food germs and that Deep Tech is one of the challenges. You may need more than six months to test your products. The end result might be brilliant or a failure as well, he said.

The human system should have a food detection system that provides accurate results. Human beings must be sick or die from eating contaminated foods, becoming Mosman’s passion to develop detection systems that can analyze the food in real time. It can be done through a small portable device and display the results on the smartphone screen. Shrimp farmers and other types of fresh food suppliers, those in the restaurant supply chain and the middlemen are the target users of this system.

CibusDx can detect germs in 30 minutes, from normally taking more than 24-72 hours. It requires to use specific high technology to put on the test strip. It works similarly with the wireless device that measure glucose in blood and it works with smartphones or tablets. The results will be sent real-time to the quality control system, allowing food manufacturers to make timely decisions.

The Challenges for Deep Tech Startup

Mosman’s pathway is not so easy. Healthcare technology must also be thoroughly examined. Although he could pass this test, he has to take further step in finding business opportunities. He attended roadshows in several countries. He said the challenges for Deep Tech startup is regulatory process. The technology like this is time-consuming and needs huge capital investment. Investors and partners will have a lot of questions.

“It is like a gamble, therefore, you have to be very determined, must be specialized and be an export. Of course, you have to patient because your business plans will not be easily agreed by investors,” Mosman said.

The next step for UbiQD and CibusDx is to expand beyond the US and Europe, targeting the Asia Pacific region, Southeast Asia, including Thailand. It also looks for more channels of funding from investors in this region, especially Thailand which is a large agricultural country with a potential in technology and being a global food hub.

Whereas the famous venture capitalists in Thailand have announced their investment in Deep Tech startups. Prior to this, creative venture group led by Punyathorn Suthipongchai, the company’s founder and partner, has set the target to invest in Deep Tech startup in Silicon Valley. He viewed that this advanced technology will change the world and has the possibility in future businesses.

Ittipat Peeradechapan, CEO of Tao Kae Noi Food and Marketing, said to Forbes Thailand that it plans to set up its own funding to seriously invest in Deep Tech startup in 2019. He believed that Deep Tech will play the roles in various industries, especially agriculture as well as production plant of Tao Kae Noi seaweed snack too.

“I think that the creation of Deep Tech will relate to AI, Big Data and Internet of Things which will increase potential of the agricultural industry enormously. Deep Tech will increasingly become more important and the business people should keep up to this trend,” Ittipat added.