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What are Deep Tech and Artificial Intelligence?

Written on October 23, 2017 by Yoram Wijngaarde

UPDATE 29 Oct 2017: the full report is now available for free download here.

This week Dealroom will release a free report on European deep tech & artificial intelligence. Ahead of that report, this is a preview.

What is Deep Tech?

Deep tech is (admittedly) a subjective term, but useful and frequently requested, in order to group companies that use cutting-edge technologies to solve complex problems. Examples include: artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous driving & delivery, space-flight, aviation, computer vision, speech recognition, AR/VR.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

The above shows that AI is the most frequently occuring description within Deep Tech (it is also the broadest definition). The below schematic from Neota Logic shows the fields of specialisation within AI. For example, machine learning is a more narrowly defined specialisation within AI (where algorithms learn themselves, without needing to be literally 100% pre-programmed). These fields are not mutually exclusive. For example, natural language processing, vision, and speech recognition all make frequent use of machine learning.

What is an Artificial Intelligence company?

Artificial intelligence is increasingly applied across more “traditional” domains such as travel (Skyscanner), music (Spotify) and of course advertising. The term “artificial intelligence company” will therefore likely be obsolete soon, similar to the term “mobile company” (nearly every modern company is mobile-ready, albeit to varying degrees). An important distinction with mobile however, is that AI requires massive capital investments which only few can afford: computing power, data-aggregation, and skills. Either these costs will diminish quickly or true AI-capability is going to be highly concentrated around a few category killers (Facebook, Amazon, Google, Spotify) and potential future government-funded initiatives.

Europe’s top funded Deep Tech companies

The below data table shows several high-profile deep tech companies, ranked by amount of VC funding. The top three funded Deep Tech companies in Europe and Israel are Roviant, Improbable and Mobileye (click to open data-table):

Top investors

Europe and Israel have already generated several high profile Deep Tech exits, as the below data table shows:

Exits

Europe and Israel have already generated many exits:

For more information on Deep Tech in Europe, stay tuned for the full report later this week.