Media Releases

U of T’s Creative Destruction Lab Announces National Expansion

May 18, 2017

Toron­to, ON – Today the Cre­ative Destruc­tion Lab (CDL) at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s Rot­man School of Man­age­ment announced a cross-coun­try expan­sion includ­ing CDL-Rock­ies at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Busi­ness, CDL-Mon­tre­al at HEC Mon­tréal, and CDL-Atlantic at Dal­housie University’s Rowe School of Busi­ness in Hal­i­fax, adding to CDL-West at the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Columbia’s Saud­er School of Busi­ness and the orig­i­nal CDL pro­gram in Toron­to.

All five pro­grams will use the method­ol­o­gy estab­lished at the Rot­man School, which employs an objec­tives-based men­tor­ing process led by high­ly accom­plished entre­pre­neurs and angel investors focused on devel­op­ing mas­sive­ly-scal­able, sci­ence-based star­tups, often pred­i­cat­ed on ideas devel­oped over years of uni­ver­si­ty research. The pro­gram also pro­vides com­pa­nies with oppor­tu­ni­ties to raise cap­i­tal and receive guid­ance on tech­nol­o­gy roadmaps from the Lab’s Chief Sci­en­tists – lead­ing pro­fes­sors in sci­ence, engi­neer­ing, and com­put­er sci­ence. Com­pa­nies also receive busi­ness devel­op­ment sup­port from busi­ness school fac­ul­ty and MBA stu­dents. The pro­gram is laser focused on a sin­gle goal: equi­ty val­ue max­i­miza­tion.

The nation­al expan­sion will enable at least three sources of economies of scale. First, the expand­ed net­work will facil­i­tate bet­ter com­pa­ny-investor match­ing. For exam­ple, last year, through the CDL net­work, a Cal­gary-based investor with exten­sive con­nec­tions in the oil and gas sec­tor sig­nif­i­cant­ly enhanced the val­ue of a start­up based on a new opti­cal liq­uid fin­ger­print tech­nol­o­gy that the founder devel­oped dur­ing his PhD at Har­vard and then com­mer­cial­ized through the CDL pro­gram in Toron­to. Sec­ond, the expand­ed scale will fur­ther attract top tal­ent to Cana­da.  Founders are already trav­el­ling to CDL from Israel, Europe, and the Unit­ed States, includ­ing from Sil­i­con Val­ley. Final­ly, the nation­al roll­out enables the CDL net­work to draw on an expand­ed pool of high­ly spe­cial­ized tal­ent from the sci­ence, engi­neer­ing, and busi­ness school fac­ul­ties at five of Canada’s top uni­ver­si­ties. Many of the indi­vid­u­als involved are world lead­ers in their area of exper­tise.  In addi­tion, stu­dents in each of the five busi­ness schools will now have oppor­tu­ni­ties to engage with star­tups at any of the pro­grams across the coun­try.

“The nation­al expan­sion of the Cre­ative Destruc­tion Lab unites sev­er­al of Canada’s top busi­ness schools to tran­si­tion sci­en­tif­ic insights out of the acad­e­my and into the econ­o­my in order to pos­i­tive­ly impact the human con­di­tion. The PhDs, mas­ters, post docs, fac­ul­ty, and oth­er inven­tors whom we are men­tor­ing will leave a mean­ing­ful lega­cy. They are devel­op­ing new prod­ucts and ser­vices to enhance health, edu­ca­tion, trans­porta­tion, safe­ty, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, enter­tain­ment, and agri­cul­ture through inno­va­tions in areas such as wear­able com­put­ing, high fideli­ty sen­sors, quan­tum com­put­ing, arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, and regen­er­a­tive med­i­cine,” says Dar­rell Kop­ke, Chief Oper­at­ing Offi­cer of the Cre­ative Destruc­tion Lab.

CDL-Rock­ies will focus on star­tups employ­ing tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tions focused on address­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties in the ener­gy mar­ket, lever­ag­ing the region’s deep exper­tise in the oil and gas indus­try. “CDL-Rock­ies will do for sci­en­tif­ic break­throughs applied to ener­gy solu­tions what CDL in Toron­to did for com­mer­cial­iz­ing sci­en­tif­ic advances in arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. They cre­at­ed a clus­ter that attracts entre­pre­neurs, investors, and cor­po­ra­tions from around the globe to Toron­to. We’re employ­ing their mod­el and lever­ag­ing our strengths in oil and gas-relat­ed indus­tries, as well as relat­ed areas of sci­en­tif­ic research, to engage the world­wide busi­ness and sci­en­tif­ic com­mu­ni­ty to come to Alber­ta to launch, finance, and build mas­sive­ly-scal­able, tech­nol­o­gy-based com­pa­nies.” says Jim Dewald, Dean, Haskayne School of Busi­ness.

CDL-Mon­tre­al will focus on data sci­ence-ori­ent­ed star­tups, lever­ag­ing IVADO’s world-renowned exper­tise in data sci­ence, oper­a­tions research, and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence. “The CDL devel­oped a pro­gram that works. We’ll deploy it in our envi­ron­ment and engage the excep­tion­al tal­ent of the Mon­tre­al entre­pre­neur, investor, and sci­ence com­mu­ni­ties, along with some of our top fac­ul­ty and stu­dents at HEC. We’ll lever­age this exper­tise and the CDL mod­el to attract tal­ent from around the world to Mon­tre­al. CDL-Mon­tre­al will enhance eco­nom­ic growth in Cana­da and increase our country’s com­pet­i­tive­ness in knowl­edge-based mar­kets,” said Michel Patry, Direc­tor, HEC Mon­tréal.

CDL-Atlantic will build on Dalhousie’s strengths, par­tic­u­lar­ly in clean, ocean, and agri­cul­ture ‑relat­ed tech­nolo­gies. “The Rowe School of Busi­ness is thrilled to part­ner with the Rot­man School of Man­age­ment to deliv­er the inno­v­a­tive CDL pro­gram­ming.  We’ll employ their mod­el to engage busi­ness and sci­en­tif­ic lead­ers world­wide to devel­op a glob­al­ly-com­pet­i­tive clus­ter for start­up com­pa­nies focused on ‘green and blue’ ori­ent­ed mar­kets. Togeth­er, we’ll enhance the econ­o­my of Atlantic Cana­da through inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship,” says Dr. Louis Beaubi­en, head of CDL-Atlantic.

Inter­est­ed founders can apply to join any of the CDL pro­grams through the web­site:–2018/

The CDL began in 2012 at the Rot­man School with the goal of help­ing its par­tic­i­pat­ing star­tups gen­er­ate $50 mil­lion in equi­ty val­ue over the program’s first five years; the program’s par­tic­i­pants exceed­ed $1 bil­lion in equi­ty val­ue cre­ation in 4.5 years.  In 2015, the Lab added a stream focused exclu­sive­ly on machine learn­ing and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence (AI) ori­ent­ed com­pa­nies and last year admit­ted 50 com­pa­nies to the AI stream, such that the CDL is now home to the great­est con­cen­tra­tion of AI-enabled star­tups of any pro­gram on Earth. Exam­ple CDL grad­u­ates include Thalmic Labs (Water­loo), Atom­wise (San Fran­cis­co), Deep Genomics (Toron­to), Nymi (Toron­to), Automat (Mon­tre­al), Kyn­di (Palo Alto), and Heuritech (Paris).

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


For more infor­ma­tion:

Ken McGuf­fin
Man­ag­er, Media Rela­tions
Rot­man School of Man­age­ment
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Tel: 416–946-3818