Media Releases

Creative Destruction Lab Expands Westward

September 28, 2016

Toronto, ON – The world’s premier seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies has announced an expansion of its program to Canada’s West Coast with the launch of the Creative Destruction Lab-West (CDL-West) in partnership with the UBC Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.

CDL-West will use the methodology established by the Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management which employs an objectives-based mentoring process led by highly accomplished entrepreneurs and angel investors. The goal of this specialized program is to maximize the equity value creation of its ventures. The Lab is currently running two programs – one for general technology companies and a second for machine learning and artificial intelligence-enabled companies. Both focus on recruiting founders with a deep scientific expertise.

“We created a model for tech venture creation that keeps startups focused on their essential business challenges and dedicated to solving them with world-class support,” says Ajay Agrawal, Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School and the founder of the Creative Destruction Lab.

“By partnering with UBC Sauder, we will magnify the impact of CDL by drawing in ventures from one of the country’s other leading research universities and B.C.’s burgeoning startup scene to further build the country’s tech sector and the opportunities for job creation it provides,” says Rachel Harris, Director of the Creative Destruction Lab.

“CDL-West will provide a much-needed support system to ensure innovations formulated on British Columbia campuses can access the funding they need to scale up and grow in-province,” says Robert Helsley, Dean of the UBC Sauder School of Business. “The success our partners at Rotman have had in helping commercialize the scientific breakthroughs of Canadian talent is remarkable and is exactly what we plan to replicate at UBC Sauder with CDL-West.”

The inaugural program at CDL-West will focus on high technology ventures based in Western Canada with a call for applications in October and the start of the program in January 2017.

The expansion to UBC is one of several recent announcements as the Lab and the ventures it has supported continue to grow. Thalmic Labs, a graduate of the Creative Destruction Lab, recently announced $120 million (US) in Series B funding. Since its inception, companies who have graduated from the program have gone on to create more than $800 million (CDN) in equity value. Earlier this month, a gift to the Rotman School by Scotiabank included funding for the Lab as well as sponsorship of the Lab’s Machine Learning and the Market for Intelligence conference which will take place in Toronto on October 27.

The Creative Destruction Lab is guided by an Advisory Board, co-chaired by Vancouver-based Haig Farris, a pioneer of the Canadian venture capitalist industry, and Bill Graham, Chancellor of Trinity College at UofT and former Canadian cabinet minister.

The Creative Destruction Lab leverages the Rotman School’s leading faculty and industry network as well as its location in the heart of Canada’s business capital to accelerate massively scalable, technology-based ventures that have the potential to transform our social, industrial, and economic landscape. The Lab has had a material impact on many nascent startups, including Deep Genomics, Greenlid, Atomwise, Bridgit, Kepler Communications, Nymi, NVBots, OTI Lumionics, PUSH, Thalmic Labs,, Revlo, Validere, Growsumo, and VoteCompass, among others. For more information, visit

The Rotman School of Management is located in the heart of Canada’s commercial and cultural capital and is part of the University of Toronto, one of the world’s top 20 research universities. The Rotman School fosters a new way to think that enables our graduates to tackle today’s global business and societal challenges. For more information, visit

The UBC Sauder School of Business is committed to developing transformational and responsible business leaders for British Columbia and the world. Located in Vancouver, Canada’s gateway to the Pacific Rim, the school is distinguished for its long history of partnership and engagement in Asia, the excellence of its graduates, and the impact of its research which ranks in the top 20 globally. For more information, visit


For more information:

Ken McGuffin
Manager, Media Relations
Rotman School of Management
University of Toronto
Tel: 416.946.3818

Follow Rotman on Twitter @rotmanschool
Watch Rotman on You Tube

Andrew Riley
Associate Director, Communications and Media Relations
UBC Sauder School of Business
University of British Columbia
Tel: 604-822-8345