Nov. 27, 2020

Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies program starts for latest cohort

As 58 deep science and technology ventures begin their journey, CDL-Rockies receives Ecosystem Supporter of the Year from Start Alberta Tech Awards

On Nov. 17, a nine-month journey started for 58 startup ventures. In this journey, they will learn how to take their knowledge to market. Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies, located at the Haskayne School of Business, is one of nine locations globally for the Creative Destruction Lab. CDL-Rockies offers three streams for their milestone based mentorship program: energy, ag and prime.

"In Canada, we have a great track record of developing meaningful inventions in science and technology in both universities and the community," says Alice Reimer, CDL-Rockies site lead. "But we're challenged with taking this intellectual capital and commercializing it. CDL connects ventures to the mentorship they need to convert their ideas into new companies, products and jobs."

  • Photo above: A previous Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies session. The 2020 cohort is meeting virtually. Photo by Kelly Hofer, for the Haskayne School of Business

CDL-Rockies has made a significant impact in Alberta’s innovation ecosystem and on Nov. 16, the program was recognized as the Ecosytem Supporter of the Year at the third annual Start Alberta Tech Awards. The awards recognize both individuals and organizations for their contributions to Alberta’s innovation ecosystem and those making a significant impact on the province’s tech sector.

The first cohort of the ag stream is launching with 20 ventures ranging in areas from biotechnology to farm tech and food tech. It's the third year for the energy stream, which is focused on enabling energy transition through seed-stage startups in areas such as process optimization, digital oil and gas, bioenergy and energy efficiency. The prime stream covers a broad range of ventures that would benefit from the unique mix of expertise available at CDL-Rockies.

The 58 ventures in the program will receive mentorship from entrepreneurs and investors, opportunities to raise capital, industry validation from corporate partners, advice on technology road maps and business development support from top MBA students.

CDL Learn only available within CDL-Rockies

Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies boasts an impressive list of fellows, associates and scientists who are all committed to mentoring the ventures in the program and the team at CDL-Rockies is always on the lookout to maximize the use of their knowledge.

“It is the intrinsic opportunities that exist with CDL-Rockies that really make the program unique,” says Kari Gordon, director of programming, CDL-Rockies. “Not only do we not take an equity stake in the companies involved, but the depth of expertise available to our founders both in-program and beyond help the ventures achieve incredible milestones.”

CDL Learn will provide a unique opportunity to educate founders, mentors and partners on topics relevant to the venture’s journey, as they navigate through the program. The first CDL Learn, Investment 101, features Andrea Drager from Azure Capital and Patrick Lor from Panache Ventures, both of whom are mentors in the program.

“Founders often have deep technical knowledge in their sector but they may not have an in-depth business background,” says Drager.

“CDL Learn is an opportunity to connect with participating ventures and provide them with foundational business knowledge to increase their chance of success in the program,” says Lor.