Is the hardtech industry dying? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Short answer: no. Long answer: noooooo.
More serious answer: I think we are actually seeing a renaissance in hardtech, driven by three big macro trends.
The first is the success of companies like Tesla and SpaceX – which has shown investors, markets, and founders that there’s a path to success by tackling big leaps in technology in previously stodgy industries.
The second is the rise of AI. There’s a lot of hype, but it’s indisputable that the impacts of AI will be huge. Many repetitive tasks that humans used to do will be taken over by robots. Entire new business models and industries will arise. Scientific areas like biology and chemistry that had previously been very difficult to model and work with using software will be opened to more digital innovation. And all of that AI technology will need new families of chips to run on.
Finally, there is the looming catastrophe of climate change. Technology and regulatory changes have to go hand in hand if we are to avoid massive increases in global temperature. And the technology innovation here can’t just be incremental and it can’t only be digital- it has to be 10x or better and has to affect the physical world. It has to be hardtech, in other words.
All of these trends are pulling capital and, more importantly, talent into not just aerospace and automotive but also industries like construction, waste management, logistics and manufacturing. They’re riding a wave of hardcore technology innovation in areas like robotics, computer vision, chemical processes, and more. The best founders in the world aren’t just dreaming of founding internet startups anymore – and the investors are following them. We’re going to see a *lot* more great hardtech startups over the next decade.