By- Rohit Kochar, Founder, Executive Chairman & CEO, Bert Labs
As you may be aware, deep tech companies are a class of early-stage businesses that develop new offerings based on tangible engineering innovation or scientific discoveries and advances. They are built around a novel technology that offers significant advance over existing solutions in the market; often they create new markets that don’t yet exist or solve problems which are almost taken for granted.
The advent of deep tech companies and its aspirations for the young generation started couple of decades back when some of the companies, in US and Europe came into existence and were built by young entrepreneurs. They took up the challenges of lengthy research and development, and large capital investment and later successful commercialization. The underlying scientific or engineering problems being solved by deep tech companies generating valuable intellectual property and low replicability.
For Indians, since their introduction, TCS, Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant were aspirational because they provided a window to the fresh graduates, to learn technology, understand software, know the ways the things work. For many people, it was only way to build careers and life, by learning and building services and solution to solve the problems for large corporations, for the developed markets.
This gradually led to India and Indian software talent to be recognised all over the world. It further led to, Internet based products and business models through the advent of internet in the global marketplace that than ignited building SaaS based products and appearance of some of the new languages like C, C++ and Java. And eventually opened the doors and dreams into deep tech.
During this time, globally product platform companies are born, and in the US especially, the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook came into existence. They leveraged India as a place for building innovation, garner online impressions, add wider audience and therefore catapulting their revenue and profits into multi-fold. It enabled Indian education system to grow from few IITs and a few NIITs to several IITs and several NIITs. Education system transformed, subjects and curriculum got advanced to factor-in the latest digital technology transformation., like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoTs). Therefore, engineers working on technologies, formulated machine learning (ML), Deep Neural Network (DNL), Distributed Computing, the technology stacks with open source, propriety, to learn, grow their careers, post their graduation in parallel with the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Around a decade and a half back, we saw a lot of interest and willingness to invest from some of the large, developed economies like, US, China, and Japan. They enabled some of the new age deep tech companies to solve several B2C problems as well as B2B problems. This in turn helped in new companies forming in deep tech and they have become aspirational for undergrads graduating in different streams. From an AI company solving medical healthcare problem, to solving problem for banking and financial services sector, industrial ecosystem where digital transformation technologies like, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) became a source of learning. These are then pursued by the engineering graduates, post-graduates, and PhD holders, to be able to work on latest technology stacks like, Reinforcement Learning (RL) or blockchain or crypto and able to help both large enterprises and governments to solve problems like, sustainability, zero carbon, carbon neutrality and fundamentally getting the world ready for the future generations.
For past two – three decades, especially since the liberalization, in the early 90’s, lot of companies from the developed markets in the US, in Western Europe, and from China have made India their base, because of the sheer size of the Indian market. The young people from each generation got attracted to building their lives in these companies where, the focus has been to change the world. Therefore, to work and to live in India, to leverage Indian strong education, to utilize the talent and the cost has been a trend. This has given us the made in India products for the world, which became game changer, be it for the end consumers, or be it for different industry verticals. And that’s how, companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others set-up their innovation hubs in India. And so started the revolution of young generation getting interested in these companies.
The technologies which the world has seen for past decade or decade and a half in terms of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, AR, VR etc which already changing the way we live our lives at home, at offices, and the way we operate our factories and buildings has come out from these companies with Indian talent complementing them.
As the young generation fresh from colleges in different parts of the world, with full of dreams and ambitions, aligns with ways of technology and contributes, create value & wealth for themselves and for the ecosystem, and gives rise to the innovation cycle. The innovation cycle in IoT is long and therefore the role of 20-year-old becomes significant. This innovation cycle coupled with entrepreneurial search in the developed markets specially in the US, and in the developing markets specially in India gives rise motivations to be the next Mark Zuckerberg and therefore, want to ideate, build a business model, get funding and get started to build a product, find markets for the product and built the company and create value and wealth.
To do this, plain vanilla thought process and ideation would not work. The idea had to have a completely new offering, both in terms of products and services, which the world hasn’t seen yet for the consumers to consume and realise a latent need or for enterprises and governments to realise their respective latent needs, in terms of how to function and get better in front of their customers.
And that’s how, a lot of early-stage companies started to get built by people who are in their 20s and some of them became successful enterprises through the share environment of research and innovation. Through this, the products which are built genuinely saw the end-consumers changing the way they live their lives or the enterprises changing the way they operate, for their end customers. In the end, the journey of close association of young generation with research and innovation with deep tech companies will continue through the products and services which are game changers and by doing so, building a better place for the livelihoods for humans and other living beings here on Planet Earth and for the world beyond.