The Next Frontier in Venture Studios: Embracing Physical Tech for a Sustainable Future
The Rantings of an Venture Entrepreneur Looking Forward 🤓
In the last few “cycles” of innovation, the venture capital / startup focus has been predominantly on cloud-leveraged-software-centric solutions and business model innovations. This trend has led to an era of immensely rapid innovation in software based services, tools and powerful machine intelligence capabilities- 🙌🏽 — but it’s time for the addition / shift toward the next wave (and we are slowly seeing this shift occur).
As we enter this new era of innovation, demanding new breakthroughs and solution pathways, it is imperative that investors and entrepreneurial mindshare shift their focus towards creating businesses that work on critical opportunities to drive sustainable innovation. We are laser focused on solutions we like to call ‘Physical Tech’ — a hybrid of physical and digital technologies, all aimed at improving the future performance and health of our planet and its inhabitants.
The Importance of Physical Tech
Physical Tech ventures combine the best of both worlds, integrating the power of digital technology with tangible, real-world sensing and understanding applications. By connecting, translating, and bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds, these solutions can address some of the most pressing challenges facing our global society today. From quality of life, longevity, climate change to resource scarcity, Physical Tech innovations can help us build a more sustainable and resilient future. (well, that is our vision, mission and belief at Conduit ✌🏽)
The Need for the Shift in Focus
While digital technology has undeniably changed the way we live, connect and work, its limitations have become increasingly apparent. In our pursuit of the next disruptive software or digital platform, we have often neglected the very real and immediate problems that demand our attention. By refocusing our efforts on Physical Tech, we can ensure that our investments are not only profitable but also have a positive impact on the world around us.
Examples of Physical Tech Innovation Domains:
- Sustainable Energy: Developing renewable energy solutions and smart grid technologies that optimize energy consumption, reduce waste, and lower our reliance on fossil fuels.
- Circular Economy: Creating innovative materials, products, and services that promote a zero-waste economy and minimize our environmental footprint.
- Smart Cities and Spaces: Leveraging IoT, AI, and other digital tools to design more sustainable and efficient urban environments, construction and consumption.
- Precision Agriculture: Utilizing data-driven technologies to optimize crop yields, reduce resource usage, and promote sustainable farming practices.
- Advanced Manufacturing: Leveraging robotics, 3D printing, and automation to revolutionize production processes, reduce waste, and enhance product customization.
- Waste Management: Implementing smart waste management systems that utilize IoT sensors, AI, and data analytics to optimize waste collection, recycling, and disposal.
- Health and Longevity: Leveraging the intelligence of biometric and behavioral capturing capable sensors, ML/AI, robotics and remote patient access, we can focus on how to deliver quality medical and health care to everyone (and animal or plant) on the planet.
- Water Conservation: Developing innovative solutions to monitor water usage, minimize waste, and ensure access to clean, safe drinking water for communities around the world.
- Transportation: Pioneering new mobility solutions, such as electric vehicles, autonomous transportation, and smart logistics, to reduce emissions and improve transportation efficiency.
- Climate Resilience: Harnessing cutting-edge technologies to predict, monitor, and mitigate the impacts of climate change, such as flood forecasting, early warning systems, and carbon capture.
The Position of Venture Studios for Physical Tech Ventures
We believe it’s time for venture studios (and funds) to play a crucial role in nurturing and scaling Physical Tech ventures. With a deep pool of resources, networks, partners and talent, we can provide the support and services that are uniquely valuable for early stage startups in this space.
Physical Tech ventures often face complex challenges that span multiple disciplines and industries, making the navigational guidance of an experienced co-pilot team even more vital. Venture studios can help entrepreneurs navigate the early stages of design, engineering, regulatory hurdles, help to establish industry partnerships, and access specialized expertise to bring their innovations to market. By offering a holistic approach that combines funding, mentorship, and strategic guidance, venture studios can accelerate the growth of Physical Tech ventures and maximize their impact on the world — and speed to market has never been more important, so anything that can aid in launching strong, validated and supported ventures is going to be critical.
At Conduit believe that we need to go beyond the traditional (and effective) venture building strategies (talent, market and consumer validation, product development resources, etc..), but to also focus on infusing the collective Physical Tech learnings, scars and successes of our industries most experienced into the culture and strategic operations of our companies from day zero- we stand on the following two pillars:
Hardware de-risk as a Service
Pre-creation architecture and supply chain risk, manufacturing strategy, capital roadmap, product deployment, program execution scale +risk, revenue and cost across product generations, etc…
Wisdom and Community as Capital
Curate the most experienced “tribe” of hardware, software and domain leaders to aid in supporting the studio and our entrepreneurs on their journey from day zero to global impact.
The Perfect Time for Entrepreneurs to Jump In
The current trend of increasingly capable commodity hardware, edge computing, and connectivity presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to enter the Physical Tech arena. As these technologies are the more accessible and affordable than they have ever been, startups can harness their power to develop innovative solutions that were once considered unattainable.
The convergence of powerful hardware and advanced digital technologies opens the door for entrepreneurs to tackle complex, real-world problems in new and creative ways. By seizing this opportunity, they can not only contribute to solving pressing global challenges but also establish themselves as leaders in the burgeoning Physical Tech landscape.
Leading Venture Capital Firms in the Physical Tech and Sustainability Space
We are joining this effort, and we hope to shout out and collaborate with some of the prominent venture capital firms that are leading the way in the physical tech, climate, sustainability, and decarbonization domains. These trailblazers include: Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Generation Investment Management, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, Prelude Ventures, Obvious Ventures, Congruent Ventures, Fifth Wall, Eclipse Ventures, Ezra Climate
Call to Action
At Conduit Venture Labs, and our sister fund ReAlign Ventures, we believe in the power of community and collaboration — The time is now for the venture capital and venture studio community to embrace Physical Tech and invest in a sustainable future. By shifting our portfolio strategy focus from purely software-centric opportunites, to those that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, we can drive innovation that not only heals the planet but also improves the lives of its inhabitants. The next decade will be defined by the investments we make today, and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that these investments are both transformative and sustainable.
Rant over…. 😮💨
Amish Patel // Founder, Builder, Investor, Dreamer
Conduit Venture Labs / ReAlign Ventures