France is neglecting the metaverse and putting its energy into deep tech instead. While the metaverse offers users an escape from reality, deep tech can improve everyday life. Deep tech refers to technological innovations discovered via scientific research that can be implemented in consumer products and services.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced his plan in 2019 to aid 500 deep tech startups each year after 2024. However, the pandemic has lent more credibility to the deep tech industry. Moderna utilized deep tech AI research to accelerate the development of its COVID 19 vaccine.
“That vaccines could be put on the market in one year when before it would have taken almost a decade, is due to deep tech,” said Director of Strategy at deep tech startup network, Hello Tomorrow, Alizée Blanchin. Unsurprisingly, a vast percentage of deep tech startups are focused on healthcare.
Solving real world problems Vs virtual gains
Of course, virtual reality and the metaverse also hold great potential for healthcare. OramaVR launched its Mage SDK earlier this year, which allows for virtual reality medical training. XRHealth acquired $10 million this year to expand metaverse-based healthcare.
Another popular subsect of deep tech is the agri-food industry. According to Blanchin, companies are using deep tech to develop protein alternatives to red meat.
France’s Deep Tech Advantage
The French government feels it has several advantages in the deep tech market. First, while the US has several metaverse contenders, it has yet to produce a deep tech industry giant meaning there is a gap in the market for France’s startups to fill. Secondly, the country possesses a vast industrial network and front-line research that give it an edge.
This month’s Vivatech event in Paris pulled together tech companies all across Europe to share knowledge and spread the word.
The number of deep tech startups in France was up 30 percent in 2021 compared to the year prior. Deep tech startup, Exotec became the country’s first “unicorn” in the industry in January. France’s government hopes to have ten deep tech unicorns by 2025.