These 5 deep tech startups have become hot targets for investors

Deep tech startups, popular among investors, are expected to continue creating a huge impact in areas like AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), IoT (Internet of Things), AR/VR, big data, language processing, vision and speech algorithms, robotics and blockchain.
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About 18 percent of all startups in India are into deep tech such as AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), IoT (Internet of Things) AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality), Blockchain and so on, according to NASSCOM’s Indian tech startup ecosystem report 2019. 

Around 1,600 deep tech startups were launched between 2014 and 2019, and are growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 40 percent.

Overall, Indian deep tech venture capital investments reached $1.4 billion across over 130 deals in 2021, according to data from Venture Intelligence.

Some examples of impact-creating deep tech companies are Agnikul, CropIn, Bugworks, KBCols Sciences, WeInnovate, Sea6 Energy, Axio, Niramai, Aether Biomedicals, String Bio and DreamVu.

YourStory presents a list of five recently funded promising deep tech startups that have garnered investor interest. 

Instoried

Headquartered in California and Bengaluru, web platform Instoried signed an agreement recently with GEM Global Yield, an alternative investment group with offices in Paris, New York, and the Bahamas. Under the agreement, GEM will provide a Share Subscription Facility of up to $200 million to be drawn at the option of the company for a 36-month term following a public listing. 

In October 2021, it also raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Pritt Investment Partners and 9 Unicorns, with participation from Mumbai Angels, SOSV, Venture Catalysts Angel Fund, and others.

The deeptech startup said it plans to use the capital to expand its global marketing efforts, primarily in the United States, and invest in its technology to add a Google Chrome extension, a WordPress plug-in, and other elements to its product portfolio.

Instoried also aims to further develop its AI-based content generation tool and expand operations globally and grow its executive team with the funding. The company also plans to go public via SPAC or Traditional IPO.

Started in 2019 by Sharmin Ali, Instoried is a tech-based content startup that uses AI to help people write better, original, and more lively content, make messaging crisper, improve headline impact, improve empathy and tone ultimately creating a better connection with the target audience.   

Deep Vision

Hyderabad and California-based deeptech startup Deep Visionraised $35 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global Management in September 2021.

The round also saw participation from Series A investors including Exfinity Venture Partners, SiliconMotion, and Western Digital in the oversubscribed round.

The company has raised about $54 million in funding to date.

Deep Vision said it will use the capital to expand the capabilities of its AI processor and software tools along with product development, ramping up its hardware manufacturing and supporting its rapidly growing customer base.

Founded in 2014 by Ravi Annavajjhala, Rehan Hameed, and Wajahat Qadeer, Deep Vision develops processors for AI edge applications. The firm targets use cases of camera-based industries like retail, driver-monitoring systems and EV, smart city installations, drones, and factory automation.

The tech platform has an AI processor and comprehensive software development suite for edge computing applications. Its processor also provides natural language processing (NLP) capabilities for a growing market of voice-controlled applications.

Deep Vision claims that its ARA-1 flagship chip can perform real-time video analytics as well as natural language processing for voice-controlled apps.

AgNext

In August 2021, Chandigarh-based agritech startup AgNext Technologies, raised $21 million in Series A round of funding led by Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI), with participation from existing investors Omnivore and Kalaari Capital.

The funding round provided a 5X exit to a-IDEA, an agribusiness incubator managed by the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), according to a statement from the company. AgNext, which was founded in 2016, had received seed funding from a-IDEA.

The deep tech startup said it plans to use the raised capital to enter into newer commodities and international markets such as the Middle East, Europe, and South Asia. The funds will also be used for the development of its tech platform Qualix, to enable quality-driven trade transactions across the food value chains. Besides, it plans to establish a new office in Abu Dhabi.

As of now it has raised a total of $25 million+ funding.

Founded in 2016 by Taranjeet Singh Bhamra, AgNext solves the quality analysis problem through its proprietary, in-house technology products. Through a mix of AI, ML, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced data analysis, it provides rapid food quality assessment through its full-stack 'Qualix' platform.

The startup claims that it has physical as well as chemical analysis solutions applicable across a wide basket of commodities, including grains, spices, tea, milk, and animal feed. It has clients such as ITC, Godrej, NAFED, Verka, etc.

Spyne

This April, Gurugram-based deeptech startup Spyne raised $7 million in its latest funding round led by Accel. The round also saw participation from other marquee investors including Storm Ventures,  Smile Group, Pentathlon Ventures, Core91, and prominent founders/CXOs from leading internet companies. 

The startup said it will use the fresh capital in acquiring talent, bolstering global expansion including the US market, and setting up a state-of-the-art computer vision lab for deeper R&D in space. It also intends to expand its technological horizons into the field of AR/VR to build products for Metaverse and Omniverse. 

Launched in 2018 by Sanjay Kumar and Deepti Prasad, Spyne helps businesses and marketplaces create high-quality product images and videos at scale with AI.

The AI tech startup claims to develop 100 percent automatic, industry-first AI image processing products to help large ecommerce marketplaces in the automotive, fashion, and retail industry enhance the visual value of the images without a physical studio. Its products enable businesses to create 500x faster studio-finish images and help them scale operations in real-time. 

According to the startup, currently it serves more than 80 customers including Amazon India, Flipkart, Karvi, OLACars,  SellAnyCar, Udaan, etc across 15 countries. The startup has also recently launched its self-serve AI  technology for the automotive industry – Spyne AI Cars – and will further be replicating the model for the ecommerce and food industry in the upcoming months.

With a dedicated team of 100 employees, Spyne further plans to introduce new products and categories including food, ecommerce, fashion, and real estate.

Astrome

Bengaluru and California-based Deeptech startup Astrome raised $3.4 million in a bridge round led by IAN Fund; Urania Ventures (Germany); and Lakshmi Narayanan, Founder, Cognizant in September 2021.

Other investors who joined the round include Impact Collective (South Korea), ArtPark (India), and a consortium of US-based angel investors. Prior to this, the startup had raised funds from a clutch of angel investors and the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

The raised capital will be deployed for expanding into the US market, strengthening global operator trials, and further commercialisation of its core technology through new products.

Founded in 2015 by Dr Neha Satak and Dr Prasad H L Bhat, Astrome provides Gigabit speed telecommunication solutions to telecom service providers, enterprises, and defence. It is also aimed at accelerating the deployment of 5G in suburban areas and broadband in rural areas through its patented telecom radios and satellite communication products.

The startup is aimed at establishing E-band as a viable alternative to fiber. Its multi-beam E-band product named GigaMesh, is a radio that can wirelessly connect cell towers or base stations to the core network. Currently, the product is working in three verticals including rural last-mile, urban telecom, and defence communications.

The startup had signed a contract with Indian Defence forces to deploy GigaMesh to cater to the strategic communication requirements of the country. In 2021, it also signed its first overseas deal with a South-East Asian telecom operator. 

The startup also claimed to be the first startup in the world to be selected by EvoNexus, a 5G accelerator programme sponsored by Qualcomm and Verizon in San Diego, California.

Astrome is now developing GigaMesh-Next, an E-band radio capable of delivering 50 Gbps per device. ideal for the next generation deployment of 5G networks.

Apart from this, it is also looking to launch its Flat Panel Satellite (FPS) terminal, GigaSat, in the coming years. It will help serve the need for low-cost user terminals required by LEO satellite internet providers.

Edited by Megha Reddy