Diptech, the innovation in the world of scientific research, is gaining ground at major innovation fairs such as Vivatech, which will be held in Paris until June 18. Interest in this branch of technology has increased since the Kovid-19 epidemic. It is increasingly seen as a major problem in the 21st century and France is hoping to get a serious card to play in the region.
It’s a lot like Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse. While, on the one hand, the creator of Facebook plays a purely technical bling-bling card, with its avatars that are too beautiful to be honest, its virtual world that will promise a lot of fun and discovery, on the other hand, deeptech gradually Pressing himself under the face.
At the VivaTech Innovation Fair held in Paris on Saturday 18th June, this is somewhat the same old story. Everybody has metavers in their mouths, but in the aisle of this tech world meeting, the stands of start-ups with complex names like Xenoskin, Native, Prelims follow each other.
They are all ambassadors of the Diptech world. “This year, we can only filter VivaTech sites to show such start-ups. It was unimaginable a few years ago! “, Said Alicia Blanchen, director of strategy at Hello Tomorrow, a global network of Diptech start-ups.
One of the major obstacles to the democratization of this branch of technology is the ambiguity surrounding it. Diptech literally translates into deep technology, which covers all the innovations that result from scientific research that are then available in marketed products or services.
The Kovid-19 epidemic has proved that it is not an abstract or abstract matter. “If it is possible to bring the vaccines to market in a year, where it took almost a decade before, it is thanks to Diptech,” assured Alejandro Blancin. Moderna and BioNTech have thus been able to benefit from the use of artificial intelligence in medicine to accelerate the development of the right molecule to fight SARS-CoV-2.
Not surprisingly, in this situation, health is the sector of choice for new start-ups in the world of research. At VivaTech, they jumped on the bandwagon of CNRS or Inria (National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology). Big pharmaceutical companies like Sanofi have also brought their team.
But France did not wait for the epidemic to wager on Diptech. President Emmanuel Macron has announced a huge 2.5 billion euro plan over five years to bring 500 French Diptech start-ups to the forefront every year from 2025 to 2019.
There is no American Diptech Giant yet
The government considers that, in reality, France had a double resource to succeed in this case: the brain and the industrial fabric. “France has a state-of-the-art research and a strong industrial tradition which means that, despite the transfer, there is still real knowledge,” said Alejandro Blancin.
Diptech really needs industry. It does not develop simple applications for smartphones. These innovations often require the manufacture of new products – such as more insulating building materials, for example.
There is still no American Diptech Giant. This is another advantage for France. Without Gaffam, French start-ups can still hope to find a place in the sun.
A French ambition that has begun to bear fruit. In January 2022, Exotec, the maker of warehouse robots, became the first Diptech start-up to join the highly exclusive club of 25 French unicorns, a technology company valued at over one billion euros in the eyes of investors.
But this is just the beginning. And it would be a shame if we notice that the government has decided to see the emergence of 10 Diptech Unicorns by 2025. Without commenting on the increase in the number of French diptech champions in three years, Alejandro Blancin thinks that we should not stay away from other objectives of the state: more than 500 start-ups every year as a result of basic research.
Progress is really fast. Deeptech recorded a 30% increase in the number of start-ups in 2021 compared to 2020. It must be said that it does not only attract health. There is air in the sails of another field: the food industry. “The movement for alternative proteins has given ideas to many scientific entrepreneurs,” confirmed Alicia Blancin. They’re working on replacing red meat on our plates, be it algae, insects or lab-grown steaks.
“The conflict in Ukraine has also demonstrated all the geopolitical interests of energy innovation to end our energy dependence as soon as possible,” added the start-up ecosystem expert.
Scientists are not the king of “pitch”
But Diptech is still far from expressing the same sentiment among investors as Fintech (innovation in finance services), Metaverse and other new applications for smartphones. “This is an area that still accounts for 10% of investments in French technology,” said Alize Blancin.
European investors blame with a certain reluctance. “For them, it’s often a hell of a bet. The results of these innovations require significant up-front investment that will take a long time to implement. In addition, deeptech often seeks to create real success, which can be more risky than an application that , Enhances this or that aspect of the online customer experience “, summarizes Alejandro Blanchin.
Or scientists are not known as the king of “pitch” (quickly selling your project to viewers). “These are still difficult to integrate into the market culture, and we need more training to teach researchers how to do it,” assures this expert from Hello Tomorrow, who has created a consultative activity to better connect researchers and the business world.
Finally, Metaverse doesn’t help. Encouragement for this new fashion, introduced by Mark Zuckerberg, means “there is undoubtedly a scattering of funds”, admits Alejandro Blanchin. Especially since these virtual worlds do not want to solve the major problems of our society, such as global warming, epidemic growth, in contrast to diptech start-ups.