Essays/linkedin/24-04-24 capital costs deep tech

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💰 What if #deeptech startup costs could be absorbed by specialized incubators offering infrastructure?

New deeptech ventures require access to expensive equipment. Capital costs are hard to justify when startups are working in timelines of few semesters. Biotech companies are normally advised to outsource as much as possible, but hard-tech seldom has that possibility.

If you are designing an analytical tool, or a hardware component, you need access to prototyping tools. You also need a context that allows you to assemble, test, and iterate.

I always wondered if it could be possible to create a space, perhaps similar to a fablab in spirit, that could become a deep tech incubator. And as incubator, I mean offering not only the lab space but the added dimension of business support.

I discussed it earlier (and I'll put a link in the comments), that from my perspective the most important thing to offer to a starting #scipreneur is time. Time to develop ideas and build insights to decide how to move forward.

Then, it's the mindframe shift. A context that helps founders push boundaries, make connections, learn from each other. Supporting the path with mentoring and interesting discussions.

And then it's the place. Lowering the barrier to creating is the first step to understanding the whole picture, what it'll take. An experimentalist is a maker. There's only so much you can do thinking and talking.

  1. Time is offered with money.
  2. Mindframe shift is achieved with focused workshops (forget about traditional classes looking at the business model canvas.)
  3. Place is the incubator itself. Both for the work, as well as a central location for networking.

Capital costs for equipment are absorbed by a meta-structure with a timeline longer than the incubation process of a company itself. Experienced mentors and coaches will guide and challenge founders. All-hands session will help cross-pollinate projects and approaches. After selection, a direct investment in the company can give founders time, as well as leverage for follow on, non-dilutive funding.

The business model of such an incubator is the aspect I don't have fully developed. Perhaps the direct investment can be executed through a SAFe note at a given (fixed) valuation. The incubation costs (the space) can be recovered through sharing a percentage of follow on investment (up to a max).

Ideal partners are regional development boards and universities who seek to valorize their research. Also companies interested in specific niches that want to keep an overlook on innovative ideas.

-- 👋 Hi! I'm @Aquiles.

I'm a scientist turned entrepreneur. I share insights on the challenges of #scipreneurship

Follow me to get all my latest thoughts and reflections.


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