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