Six years ago, the Creative Destructive Lab (CDL) was launched in Toronto supporting 25 science-based startups. Today, the CDL operates in five Canadian cities representing 275 companies and more than 100 Fellows and Associates who commit significant time and energy to help founders realize their goals.
As the CDL wraps up its 2017/18 year, the program graduates over 120 high potential start-ups and has launched its first international site in partnership with New York University at Stern School of Business (CDL-NYC). On June 6 and 7, the CDL is hosting its inaugural Super Session. This event brings together the entire CDL network of companies, Fellows, Associates, experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and world leading scientists in one location, for the first time.
Companies that have benefitted from the CDL program include innovators in quantum machine learning and BioMedTech. The Lab took an early interest in artificial intelligence (AI), with CDL-Toronto alone supporting 100 AI companies. This year’s cohort includes a number of AI startups, including:
- DarwinAI (CDL-Toronto) automatically generates highly-optimized deep neural networks that are orders of magnitude smaller than comparable solutions, while also enabling “explainable AI,” the ability to understand why a network makes the decisions it does.
- CSD Labs (CDL-West) has developed an AI-driven heart murmur detection technology and app with modules to train physicians using a heart sound and murmur database.
- Stratuscent (CDL-Montréal) has developed an AI-driven chemical sensor that can identify smells and quantify the mix of airborne chemicals in a complex environment.
The Super Session is an opportunity for start-ups to workshop solutions to interesting and economically important problems with the brightest minds in deep-science and technology.
One of the world’s earliest and most prolific investors in AI-oriented companies, Vinod Khosla will deliver the keynote speech on June 7. Participants will also hear from Colonel Chris Hadfield, who will help the CDL’s newest entrepreneurship program stream, CDL Space. He will be joined by fellow innovators in the field during the keynote panel on June 6, including the first female private space traveller, Anousheh Ansari; the former Director of the Solar Exploration Program and Program Manager for Mars Exploration at NASA, Firouz Naderi; and Dante Lauretta, who led NASA’s OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample-return mission to the asteroid Bennu.
As globally competitive start-ups and leading tech experts in entrepreneurship converge at the Rotman School of Management for two days, the Super Session will provide a forum for participants to make meaningful connections, whether they are founders looking for advice on sharpening their go-to-market, venture capitalists seeking new investment opportunities, or ambitious individuals who want to join high-potential ventures as early employees. Ultimately, the aim of the Super Session is straightforward — for participants to learn and be inspired.
The CDL is a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies. Its nine-month program pairs founders with experienced entrepreneurs and investors to set focused, measurable objectives with the goal of maximizing equity-value creation. Since its inception in 2012, companies that have participated in the CDL programs have created $2.5 billion (CDN) in equity value. CDL Alumni include Thalmic Labs (Waterloo), Atomwise (San Francisco), Deep Genomics (Toronto), Nymi (Toronto), Automat (Montreal), Kyndi (Palo Alto), and Heuritech (Paris).