In September 2016, the UBC Sauder School of Business launched Creative Destruction Lab-West, partnering with the successful seed-stage program of the same name at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. CDL-West is a focused mentorship and investment program for massively scalable tech ventures, and welcomed its first cohort of ventures in January 2017.
CDL differs from incubators and accelerator programs that typically offer a physical space and mentoring to startups in exchange for equity. Instead, cohorts of 25 companies start the nine-month CDL program by meeting with seven accomplished entrepreneurs and investors known as G7 Fellows. The ventures are each assigned three objectives that they must meet within eight weeks. They are assessed by lab scientists and economists from the university and aided by MBA students to devise strategies, find customers and secure financing. Not all ventures can meet the objectives and continue in the program, but those who do continue to work closely with Fellows and Associates on raising funds and scaling up their businesses.
Because of the hands-on nature of the program, the success of CDL-West hinges on its people: faculty at UBC and at associated universities, the G7 group of experienced entrepreneurs, team members, and founding partners who together will provide the learning experiences, mentorship, and funding that will enable those ventures to launch their businesses successfully.
CDL in Toronto has already experienced considerable success: companies from CDL’s first five years (2012-2017) have generated over $1.5 billion in equity value. The lab has supported a long line of emerging startups, including computer-human interface company Thalmic Labs, which announced nearly USD $120 million in funding on September 19, 2016, one of the largest Series B financings in Canadian history.
Charles Chang, Colin Harris, Bruce Hoeschen, Leigh Sauder and Patrick Robinson, Chris Bissonnette, Paul Lee, Moe Kermani, Phil Christopher, Jim Davidson, and Bill Sauder have joined CDL-West as founding partners, providing generous support that enables the program to operate. These founders join the Fellows and Associates who generously commit their time, energy and resources to ‘pay it forward’ to the next generation of entrepreneurs. “By increasing the chance that local companies will become successful, CDL is going to greatly strengthen the BC tech ecosystem and fuel the creation of jobs throughout the province,” said Chris Bissonnette.
Additionally, two corporate partners, Osler and Scotiabank and educational partner, KPMG, have also joined the forces in support of CDL-West.
Paul Cubbon, CDL-West Project Lead at the UBC Sauder School of Business, is equally enthusiastic. Cubbon, who is a full-time faculty member of the Marketing and Behavioural Science Division at the Sauder School of Business at UBC and leads the Entrepreneurship Group in the undergraduate and graduate programs, has been promoting entrepreneurship education at UBC for many years. “This is a very exciting step forward for us. Bringing together faculty advisors, chief scientists, MBA and undergraduate (BCom) students and individual and corporate partners for critical input, task-prioritizing, and key insights helps us use a goal-setting model to guide scientist founders in technology along a path toward success,” said Paul. “The mission is to significantly move the dial on massively scalable technology ventures to positively impact the Canadian economy and society. To this end, we need bold ambition and a laser focus on doing a few things really well. CDL-West has committed to a $20 billion equity value creation target by 2027, as part of a $100 billion CDL national target. Buckle up and get ready to build some big Canadian technology ventures.”