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Global deep-tech investment slips

Despite an overall drop, funding for chemistry-rich innovation continues to grow

by Alex Scott
March 27, 2024 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 102, Issue 10


Global investment in deep-technology start-ups—companies that are developing technology solutions to substantial scientific or engineering problems—totaled $79 billion in 2023, a 26% drop from the year earlier, according to Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Nevertheless, funding “remains strong” and even grew in 2023 in the fields of energy, climate, and industrial technologies, Antoine Gourévitch, a managing director at BCG, told journalists at a deep-tech meeting earlier this month in Paris.

By the numbers $79 billion

Global investment in deep technology in 2023


Drop in global deep-tech funding in 2023 from the year earlier

Source: Boston Consulting Group.

Technologies that secured the greatest increases in funding in 2023 were associated with advanced materials and nanotechnology, followed by quantum computing and biotechnology, Gourévitch said.

The US attracted 49% of the world’s deep-tech funding in 2023; Europe was next, at 20%. Deep-tech investment grew in 2023 in several European countries, including Sweden and France, which together accounted for 51% of all investment in Europe. Contrastingly, investment fell in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.

According to data presented by Hello Tomorrow, the meeting’s host, European deep-tech start-ups founded by men receive more money than those founded by women. In Europe, women are the founders of just 6% of deep-tech start-ups and receive only 2% of available funding.

Moreover, women have a 30% lower chance of successfully paying off investors in their start-ups, according to Alizée Blanchin, director of Hello Tomorrow. “It is time to recognize that inclusion nurtures innovation,” Blanchin said.

Over 4,000 start-ups entered Hello Tomorrow’s Global Challenge deep-tech competition, which offers a €100,000 grand prize. Women founded about 54% of the competition’s applicants and 58% of the finalists. The winner was Tozero, a German company that was founded by two women and has developed a hydrometallurgical process for recycling automotive lithium-ion batteries. “Our competition illustrates women’s contribution to deep tech,” Blanchin said.



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