Here is what is going on: http://www.forbes.com/sites/anthonykosner/2014/12/29/tech-2015-deep-learning-and-machine-intelligence-will-eat-the-world/
Google's voice recognition is already in production and is based on deep learning. They even extended their capacity in DL by acquiring DeepMind the last year. Beyond Socher's start-up are resources of Stanford. So I think the results would be very impressive as well.
About AlchemyAPI: it seems IBM is going to extent its cognitive framework based on IBM Watson (mostly nlp primitives + automated reasoning) with AlchemyAPI's feature engineering based on deep learning. The game is going from computational primitives to higher levels of machine intelligence.
I agree with your point: deep learning is perhaps the most difficult technique from ml, and there are still tons of practical problems there including scalability, but there are start-ups that already master it: AlchemyAPI (now part of IBM) for image and text, MetaMind for image and Twitter sentiment analysis, etc.
Deep learning is only part of this revolution; it includes also other ml techniques, text mining / nlp, cognitive computing, etc. My point is: the most sophisticated engineering gives us a really good chance to compete on the current market.
It’s really interesting what you do. It seems it’s a kind of cognitive computing.