GIST TechConnect: The Future of Innovation is Deep Tech



Deep Tech. It is a flashy term used too often without a good understanding of the actual meaning. However, in the coming decade, this term will have greater and greater impact on our society and the environment. In fact, Deep Tech has already made huge impacts on our everyday lives. Simply defined, the term refers to technology that, because of the extreme difficulty involved, has a longer runway to commercial application but has the potential to disrupt existing sectors or create entirely new ones. Regardless of the investment involved, from computing to biotech, transportation and AI, Deep Tech has the potential to provide solutions to some of the most challenging problems the world faces which is why it is also one of the most exciting areas of innovation. 

Working with such advanced technology can often seem unachievable for a commercial venture, especially a small startup. But, in this GIST TechConnect we will explore ways that startups are successfully innovating with Deep Tech in a variety of fields. Our expert panelists will share what they are seeing from startups working with Deep Tech right now that has them excited and provide avenues that innovators can use to turn a profit while continuing to further their longer term technology goals. 

Explore Deep Tech before the event by checking out our GIST Insights resource guide to Deep Tech. 

This GIST TechConnect is co-hosted with our GIST Innovation Hub FAB LAB Mindanao at the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT). FAB LAB Mindanao is Mindanao’s first digital fabrication laboratory and a central organizer of cross-learning events such as GIST TechConnect and plays a huge role in promoting science and technology innovation and entrepreneurship in their region.


Nakia Melecio
Sr. Research Faculty (EI2)
Georgia Institute of Technology

Nakia helps researchers commercialize their Biotechnology, Energy, Defense, Military Technology, Education, Government Technology, and Aerospace technology. He also helps them secure investments from a network of federally funded laboratories, universities, and corporations. Nakia’s passion as a business advisor, deep-tech, deep-science mentor, and startup coach inspires and helps entrepreneurs and startups spun out of university research. A seasoned entrepreneur, Nakia allows entrepreneurs to execute their ideas while guiding them in the total startup journey — from product development and selling to the government, to their go-to-market strategy and customer discovery to scaling a company and getting capital. He has worked with more than 700 startups worldwide, with more than 15,000 hours of classroom time working with entrepreneurs.

He is a board member for several startups and is involved in two Health-tech Medical Device startups, which are actively funded by SBIR Phase I NIH and SBIR Phase I NSF. Mr. Melecio has a master’s degree in Education, Teaching, Learning, and Educational Technology, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science, and a Doctor of Psychology Educational Psychology, Educational Leadership.

Andra Keay
Managing Director
Silicon Valley Robotics

Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, the non-profit industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. She is a global ecosystem builder, futurist, and founder of the Good Robot Awards, Robot Launch global startup competition, Robot Garden maker space, and Women in Robotics. She is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, and dedicated to growing ethical and equitable Autonomous Intelligent Systems (AIS). She has a background in Human-Robot Interaction, Interaction Design and Communications and is currently a Visiting Scholar with the UC’s CITRIS People and Robots Research Group.

Nhi Lê
Accelerator Associate

Nhi Lê is currently an Accelerator Associate at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and managing director of a Singapore-based family fund focused on deeptech startups and VC fund investments. WARF Accelerator is a gap-funding program that provides funding and support services to technically and commercially advance technologies developed through research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nhi received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and undergraduate degrees from Georgia Tech. 



G. Nagesh Rao
Chief Information Officer
Bureau of Industry and Security-U.S. Department of Commerce

A technology expert with more than 20+ years of experience in the public, private and non-profit
sectors. G. Nagesh Rao is a seasoned cross-sector executive whom has developed numerous national
and global programming ventures as well provided policy guidance on legislation related to innovation,
technology, intellectual property law, and entrepreneurship. He currently serves as the Chief
Information Officer for the Bureau of Industry and Security at the U.S. Department of Commerce
(Career Senior Executive Service Appointment).


About GIST TechConnect

GIST TechConnects provide entrepreneurs around the world with direct access to leading U.S. experts from business and academia, but without the travel and other related costs. Young science and technology entrepreneurs can engage with experts and the larger GIST community to learn about best business practices and startup resources.

  • GIST TechConnects are live webinars in which a panel of experts and thought-leaders discuss topics of importance to early-stage, science and technology innovators from across the globe.  
  • Viewers of TechConnects can ask questions directly to the panel of speakers through an accompanying chat-space next to the TechConnect video.
  • TechConnects are regularly live-translated into French and Spanish to ensure that viewers from across the globe can engage and benefit from the program.
  • GIST TechConnects provides entrepreneurs around the world with direct access to leading U.S. experts from business and academia, but without the travel and other related costs. 
  • Young science and technology entrepreneurs can engage with experts and the larger GIST community to learn about best business practices and startup resources.
  • In addition to the panel of experts answering questions, there is a Chatspace Expert responding to all questions and comments made in the chatspace - providing insights, sharing critical resources, and enabling conversation among innovators across the globe.


Why you should host a viewing group and promote the TC’s to your network:

  • Increased Knowledge: Innovators from across the globe get unparalleled access to experts to answer their burning questions about building and growing a startup. From how to raise an investment, to understanding marketing best practices, innovators can gain important insights and knowledge.
  • Connecting to broader GIST network: You’ll be able to connect to the broader global GIST network and get access to additional resources, such as GIST Pitch Competitions, GIST Startup Trainings, and access to the entire GIST TechConnect video library.
  • Engaging your local ecosystem: Hosting a viewing group is also a great opportunity to engage your community's innovators--viewing groups often host a local speaker series or event in tandem with the GIST TechConnect, to capitalize on having all of your innovators together.
  • Exposure to GIST community: Photos of viewing groups are highlighted at the end of each live TechConnect, which is watched by viewers across the globe.


If you plan to host a viewing group please contact Genesis Lodise who will guide you through the TechConnect hosting best practices.

If you have questions about GIST programming please send us an email at [email protected].

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