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Creative Destruction Lab

One of the world's premier venture scaling programs
Creative Destruction Lab
Leadership team

Yung Wu (CEO)

Ajay Agrawal (Founder and Faculty Director)

Victoria Lennox (Founder)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Ontario, Canada
Established
2012
Social Media
Summary

The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a venture accelerator program that helps science-and technology-based startups to commercialize their technology and become successful, high-growth companies. The program consists of a nine-month mentorship program, which includes one-on-one mentorship sessions with industry experts, workshops, and networking events. The program has seven locations across Canada, in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Halifax, and Waterloo. It also has an international presence. 

The goal of the program is to help entrepreneurs develop and scale their businesses through the support of experienced mentors, investors, and industry leaders. At the end of the program, startups pitch their business to investors and venture capitalists, and the best companies receive funding and support to continue their growth.


History

The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) has a relatively short but impactful history. It was founded in 2012 by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Since its inception, CDL has become a prominent and influential seed-stage startup program for science- and technology-based companies. Here's a brief overview of CDL's history:

The journey of CDL began in the 2012-2013 academic year when it was established at the Rotman School of Management. This marked the birth of a novel approach to fostering entrepreneurship and supporting the commercialization of scientific innovations.

In its early years, CDL aimed to create an environment where science-based startups could thrive. It provided a platform for entrepreneurs to interact with accomplished mentors, investors, and experts.

As CDL grew, it expanded its reach and influence. It began to attract attention and participation from a diverse range of startups and individuals looking to bring innovative and science-based ideas to the market.

CDL's reputation continued to grow, and it expanded its presence not only in Toronto but also internationally. The program's unique combination of mentorship, entrepreneurship, and science-based innovation started to gain recognition and traction.

By this time, CDL had firmly established itself as a go-to destination for startups in need of mentorship and support. The program was known for helping startups set and prioritize objectives that were crucial for their success.

CDL was now a well-established force in the world of entrepreneurship and innovation. It has facilitated the growth of numerous startups and had a measurable impact on equity value creation in the business world.

As the program matured, CDL continued to refine its approach and expand its offerings. It played a significant role in helping startups navigate the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, further showcasing its adaptability and resilience.

In recent years, CDL's impact has become even more evident. It had successfully nurtured a vast network of founders, students, mentors, and investors, contributing to the growth of innovative startups and job opportunities.

As of 2023, CDL remained a dynamic and influential force in the world of entrepreneurship and science-based startups. It continued to generate equity value and support groundbreaking ventures in various fields, including artificial intelligence, blockchain, health, space, and more.

Over the years, CDL has grown from a local initiative to a global program with sites in multiple countries. It has played a pivotal role in fostering innovation and providing startups with the resources, mentorship, and strategic guidance they need to thrive. CDL's history is characterized by its commitment to "creative destruction," which involves reimagining and reinventing business models and industries to drive meaningful change and progress. Through its history, CDL has contributed significantly to the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the commercialization of scientific discoveries, leaving a lasting impact on the world of startups and innovation.


Investment criteria

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a non-profit seed-stage program that provides mentorship, resources, and support to high-potential startups in science and technology. The program has a rigorous selection process that evaluates startups based on several key criteria. Here are the investment criteria used by Creative Destruction Lab:

  • Technology: CDL focuses on startups that are developing cutting-edge technology in their respective industries. The program is particularly interested in startups that are working on breakthrough technologies that have the potential to transform entire industries.
  • Market potential: CDL evaluates startups based on their potential to disrupt existing markets or create new ones. The program is interested in startups that have identified significant market opportunities and have a clear plan for capturing market share.
  • Team: CDL looks for startups with talented and experienced teams that have a track record of success. The program evaluates the team's ability to execute their business plan and overcome the challenges they will face in their early stages.
  • Traction: CDL evaluates startups based on their progress to date, including their customer traction, revenue, and other key metrics. The program is interested in startups that have demonstrated early signs of success and have the potential to achieve significant growth in the future.
  • Mentorship: CDL places a strong emphasis on mentorship and evaluates startups based on their willingness to accept and act on feedback from mentors. The program is interested in startups that are coachable and willing to learn from experienced mentors.

Values
  • Ambition: CDL values startups that have ambitious goals and a willingness to take risks in pursuit of those goals. The program is interested in startups that are working on breakthrough technologies and have the potential to transform entire industries.
  • Rigour: CDL places a strong emphasis on rigour in its selection process, mentorship, and support for startups. The program values data-driven decision-making, clear goals and metrics, and a commitment to continuous improvement.
  • Mentorship: CDL values mentorship and the power of experienced mentors to guide startups through the challenges of the early stages of their development. The program provides startups with access to a network of accomplished entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts who provide feedback, guidance, and connections.
  • Collaboration: CDL values collaboration among its startups, mentors, and partners. The program creates opportunities for startups to share knowledge, learn from each other, and collaborate on projects and initiatives.
  • Impact: CDL values startups that have the potential to create a significant positive impact in their industries and in society as a whole. The program is interested in startups that are working on solutions to important problems and have a clear vision for how their technology can make a difference.

Mission

“CDL's mission is to enhance the commercialization of science for the betterment of humankind. CDL pursues its mission by helping start-up founders prioritize tasks to most efficiently and effectively derisk their business and maximize their probability of success.”

CDL's mission is driven by a profound commitment to advancing the commercialization of scientific innovations for the betterment of humankind. The program achieves this by actively supporting startup founders in their entrepreneurial journey, enabling them to strategically prioritize tasks, reduce risks, and optimize their chances of success. In doing so, CDL plays a pivotal role in bridging the gap between scientific breakthroughs and their practical application, ultimately contributing to the progress of both business and society.


Portfolio

The program's portfolio includes startups that are working on breakthrough technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, quantum computing, and more. Here are some examples of startups in CDL's portfolio:

  • Atomwise - Atomwise is a drug discovery company that uses artificial intelligence to help develop new medicines. The company's technology can quickly and accurately predict the effectiveness of new drug candidates, significantly speeding up the drug discovery process.
  • BenchSci - BenchSci is a platform that uses machine learning to help scientists find antibodies for their research. The platform analyzes millions of scientific papers and identifies the best antibodies for a particular experiment, making it easier for researchers to find the right tools for their work.
  • Xanadu - Xanadu is a quantum computing company that is developing hardware and software for quantum computers. The company's technology has the potential to solve problems that are impossible for classical computers, opening up new possibilities in areas such as materials science, finance, and cryptography.
  • Cyclica - Cyclica is a biotechnology company that is using artificial intelligence to develop new drugs. The company's technology can predict how a drug will interact with the human body, enabling more efficient drug development and reducing the risk of adverse effects.
  • Tevosol - Tevosol is a medical device company that is developing a portable machine for organ preservation. The company's technology can keep organs healthy and viable for longer periods of time, increasing the number of organs available for transplantation and potentially saving lives.

References
Creative Destruction Lab
Leadership team

Yung Wu (CEO)

Ajay Agrawal (Founder and Faculty Director)

Victoria Lennox (Founder)

Number of Employees
0 - 50
Headquarters
Ontario, Canada
Established
2012
Social Media