11 deep tech startups to watch in 2023Posted 4 Jan 2023
Although UK tech investment took a tumble last year according to Atomico’s State of European Tech report, the country is still a magnet for investment with more startups than anywhere else in Europe calling the UK home and is reason for cautious optimism.
And whilst valuations came down, and we saw fewer deals, startups with great products and services, a validated target market, and a clear path to profitability continue to raise successfully: the early stage companies on our list raised a combined total of over £30 million in 2022.
From climate and carbon tech leaders to cutting-edge AI businesses, companies exploiting the latest metaverse trends to those solving critical industrial challenges, we take a look at the deep tech startups to watch in 2023.
With the long term effects of the pandemic still impacting the UK’s industrial companies, our recent Manufacturing Leaders Poll found that more than a quarter of UK manufacturers viewed additive manufacturing as a priority technology for 2023.
Fresh from Digital Catapult’s FutureScope Net Zero Scale programme, Ai Build raised £2.56m ($3.2m) in 2022 with participation from ACT Venture Partners and existing investor SuperSeed following on.
The London-based startup offers an exciting 3D manufacturing process that enables manufacturers to build prototypes much faster – and more sustainably – than using traditional methods: slow, error-prone manufacturing becomes fast, predictable and repeatable.
Another exciting scaling business focused on addressing major challenges affecting the manufacturing industries, is climate tech and AI startup Carbon Re. Carbon Re is a female co-founded startup dedicated to tackling the gigatonnes of carbon emissions generated from the cement industry.
A spin out of Cambridge University and UCL, Carbon Re was one of the original cohort members of Digital Catapult’s FutureScope Net Zero Scale programme.
With its innovative “Delta Zero AI” platform that could potentially help reduce CO2 emissions by 50 kilotonnes per plant, saving around £2 million, it’s unsurprising that Carbon Re raised £4.2 million ($4.8 million) in November 2022 led by Planet A Ventures, with participation from Clean Growth Fund, UCL Technology Fund, and University of Cambridge Seed Fund.
Helping organisations become more resilient to the impacts of climate change by modelling the risk, probability and severity of weather events decades before they happen, Climate X is an innovative London-based startup making waves in the cleantech space.
Climate X predicts that climate change-related risks are expected to cost the global economy up to $23tn by 2050. In March 2022, it completed a £4.1m seed funding round, led by CommerzVentures and A/O PropTech. With a pre-seed funding round of £1.1m in July 2021, Climate X has now raised £5.2m.
Part of our flagship AI programme Machine Intelligence Garage, Climate X benefited from additional compute power, access to NVIDIA DGX, AWS credits and ethics consultations to speed up their growth journey.
Digital Catapult has been working with Extend Robotics since the company was founded in 2019, and they have been part of our Augmentor accelerator programme and our West Midlands based 5G accelerator 5PRING.
A spin out of Imperial College London, the Reading-based company enables humans to operate robots using augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR) that is intuitive and ultra-precise, with potential in multiple industries from healthcare to agriculture, using off the shelf Meta/Oculus equipment.
Having previously raised £300,000 pre-seed funding, Extend Robotics were winners of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den in January 2022 with successful investment from Dragon Peter Jones.
Arguably one of the most successful startups Digital Catapult has worked with, Greyparrot is the leading AI waste analytics platform for the recycling industry and circular economy, providing waste recognition software to monitor and sort waste at scale to help boost recycling rates.
The London-based, female-founded startup joined our Machine Intelligence Garage programme for companies developing artificial intelligence and machine learning products and services in 2019. The AWS credits provided by Digital Catapult were used to train Greyparrot’s first waste recognition system.
Raising £8.6m ($11m) in the summer of 2022 in a Series A funding round led by ESG-focused investors Una Terra, the funding will help Greyparrot focus on increasing its product offer, expand further afield, and continue to grow. Since March 2019, Greyparrot has raised a total of $15.9 million.
Infyos is helping to solve the problem of transparency for electric vehicle battery supply chains. Working right across the supply chain, the company is building a platform to improve – and go beyond – traceability and data access using blockchain technology and IoT.
A member of Digital Catapult’s FutureScope Net Zero Accelerate programme, Infyos raised an undisclosed pre-seed round in 2022, and is recognised as one of the highest potential carbon tech startups in the UK right now.
Another climate tech startup to watch for 2023, measurable.energy has built a platform that uses machine learning to eliminate wasted energy and emissions from buildings.
Winner of multiple awards and part of our Machine Intelligence Garage programme in 2022, measurable.energy raised seed round funding of £1.5m last year to help continue their scaling up journey.
One of the more prominent use cases for VR is in training. Not only does research show that more knowledge is retained from training in VR and can save organisations money, an immersive experience can replicate dangerous or inaccessible environments where training in real life can be next to impossible.
Founded in 2016, MOONHUB participated in Digital Catapult’s virtual and augmented reality accelerator programme Augmentor in 2020, and raised £2m seed investment in 2022 led by Pi Labs with participation from Ada Ventures.
It provides immersive, lifelike workplace training in VR to a diverse portfolio of clients including Just Eat, Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Royal Opera House, Rawbank, and Sports Interactive.
MOONHUB made great leaps forward in 2022, securing more commercial customers, being selected for the Google for Startups Black Founders programme, and receiving a special invitation to meet Minister for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman, to showcase the impact of their technology. Digital Catapult is currently running a pilot testing MOONHUB’s Diversity and Inclusion training across the Digital Catapult workforce.
Belfast-based studio Retinize creates immersive experiences in AR and VR for major brands including Eurostar, BBC, Land Rover, Seagate and MINI. Its Animotive product is set to disrupt the 3D animation production process by allowing anyone to be an animator.
Retinize was one of the 10 startups on the fourth cohort of our Augmentor programme. Already an award winning business, the company is recognised as one of Europe’s fastest growing creative technology companies, and raised £2m in seed funding last year led by Sure Valley Ventures.
TOffeeAM provides AI driven generative design for advanced manufacturing to design fuel-efficient machinery for the aerospace industry that has reduced CO2 pollution for clients including Boeing and Rolls-Royce.
The TOffeeAM cloud platform enables clients to maximise thermo-fluid and structural performance of engineering components, leading to increased efficiency, reduced waste and emissions in the manufacturing process.
A female-founded spin out from Imperial College London, in November 2022 the company raised £5m (€5.7m) to help it scale globally with a particular focus on the US and Asian markets. The Series A round was led by Presidio Ventures Europe and East Innovate, IQ Capital, who led ToffeeAM’s seed round, also participated.
The markets for additive manufacturing and computer aided design are both predicted to increase by over 30% by 2028 so we expect to see increased demand for solutions like the TOffeeAM platform.
The last company on the list is my wild card. At the time of writing, they have yet to secure any funding but even though it’s very early days, we expect to see them do great things in 2023.
The ultra early startup uses research-led machine learning techniques to drive 100X increase in the computational efficiency of fluid simulations, with the potential to deliver huge benefits for automotive and aerospace engineers around the world in terms of time and cost.
4 Aug 2022