Deep tech, also known as hard technology, is defined as being a start-up that has the goal of providing technological solutions to scientific and/or engineering obstacles and problems. In the long term, deep tech start-ups tend to aim toward being a corporation themselves; however, in order to achieve this, it has been suggested that they seek and receive help from established corporations.

The Importance of a Life Cycle Model

Even though corporations can assist deep tech startups on a number of levels, a challenge has been identified. In order for a corporation to properly assist a deep tech start-up, they must understand their life cycle model; however, the life cycle stages of deep tech start-ups have not yet been properly documented.

Having a defined life cycle model is important as it depicts the stages through which a start-up must develop. Thus it allows one to measure the progress and growth of a company and informs one when the start-up is mature enough to move to the next stage. This aids in providing structure through which the start-up can grow and develop into a corporation.

Suggested Life Cycle Stages

There are four overarching stages that have been identified as being key factors in the development of a deep tech start-up. These stages consist of:

  1. The Early Stage: In this stage, the concept of the deep technology in question is developed. This concept is also explored in terms of its economical feasibility, technological validity, and marketability. This is done by making use of a proof of concept.

  2. The Research and Development Stage: This stage follows up on the early stage by producing the first product off of the proof of concept. This then allows for the product to go through product development which includes pilot customers and the identification of a viable business model.

  3. The Growth Stage: This is when the product finally launches on the market and interest is generated in the product which will provide the final data on whether the product is marketable.

  4. The Late Stage: In this stage, the product starts to expand and integrate into other areas and products which will diversify the product portfolio. If the product is truly successful, it will be able to establish a new market segment or even an entirely new market.

There are many other aspects that should be taken into account when establishing a deep tech life cycle plan. The Development of a Life Cycle Model for Deep Tech Start-Ups paper describes this in more detail.

Schuh, G, Studerus B & Hämmerle C. 2022. Development of a Life Cycle Model for Deep Tech Startups. Journal of Production Systems and Logistics. Vol 5(5): 1-17.

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