Deep Tech Summit draws heavy hitting investors to Belfast

Investors from throughout the UK and Ireland gathered in Belfast last week to hear pitches from some of Northern Ireland’s best deep tech start-ups.

The Deep Tech Summit 2023, which was run by Queen’s University Belfast’s commercialisation arm QUBIS, also heard from key figures within the sector as they explored how Northern Ireland deep tech can tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. It brought together stakeholders from all areas of the deep tech world to pool resources, knowledge and expertise to elevate the region’s standing as a global incubator for deep tech innovation, spinouts and scale-ups.

Deep Tech Summit 2023

As well as pitching in front of an investment audience made up of venture capital, private equity and growth fund investors, participating founders also got the chance to network with investors and learn from their peers at an event which is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Zoe Reich, Fund Manager for Deep Tech at Octopus Ventures, one of the largest and most active venture capital investors in Europe, gave one of two keynote speeches. Zoe has made over 60 deep tech investments in a broad spectrum of sub-sectors, from biotech to cleantech and advanced engineering and focused on trends in the sector, the role of venture capital and look ahead to what the next five years may hold for deep tech.

Stephen Chambers, General Partner, SOSV and Managing Director, IndieBio NY also addressed the audience. After mentoring IndieBio life science startups since 2018, in 2020 Stephen joined SOSV full-time to co-found IndieBio NY. Stephen heads the IndieBio NY program, has a PhD in Molecular Biology, and has a deep background in entrepreneurship in the pharma industry.

Meanwhile, Sarah Friar, the CEO of Nextdoor who grew up in Sion Mills, also called in to the event for a fireside chat to offer advice to founders pitching for investment. Sarah held leadership positions at Square, Salesforce, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey.

Other speakers included Barbara Orr from Innovate UK and Lead Equity Investor at InterTradeIreland Drew O’Sullivan at Innovate UK and others.

Brian McCaul, CEO at QUBIS, said: “The Deep Tech Summit 2023 has been a celebration of the growing impact the Northern Ireland sector is making on the local and global economy. The knowledge, expertise and innovation in deep tech in the region is unparalleled and has drawn investors from around the world to the event to hear from a hand-picked, high potential group of spin outs and scale-ups.

“In addition, the chance to bring together stakeholders from across the UK and Ireland has the potential to supercharge deep tech here and help the sector become a global hub.”

The event was held at the Europa Hotel, Belfast.

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