The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) hosted more than 100 of the most promising science-based startups at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. On June 6 and 7, this event brought together the entire CDL network for the first time, including Fellows and Associates, venture capitalists, scientists and graduating CDL ventures.
The two days were filled with compelling ideas, meaningful networking and focused feedback sessions. Before graduating companies officially became CDL Alumni, they were given one last intensive session focusing on long-term vision. Fellows and Associates provided valuable guidance, from where to start growing the business internationally to what kinds of applications their technology could tackle next.
While the Super Session was an opportunity for the CDL network to deepen connections across its five sites, the session also set the stage for exciting developments.
Colonel Chris Hadfield helped CDL-Toronto launch its newest stream: Space. The Space Stream will bring together astronauts, entrepreneurs, investors, and scientists from fields related to space exploration and transportation, satellite communications, and robotics. During the keynote panel on June 6, Hadfield was in conversation with innovators in space exploration: Anousheh Ansari, Firouz Naderi and Dante Lauretta.
The panel discussed the types of problems entrepreneurs can help solve to be part of the new frontier of exploration and settlement of space. Ansari, the first female private space traveller, underscored that this phase in space exploration will need a variety of skills, and that she wants to see a broad cross-section of people doing the problem-solving. “There is no challenge that a passionate and focused mind can’t solve,” said Ansari. “Places like CDL where these kinds of activities can be amplified are important.”
On June 7, prolific investor and entrepreneur Vinod Khosla delivered the keynote address, covering a range of fascinating topics — from personalized medicine to redesigning cities to the future of labour. He predicted that AI will transform the labour market. “What if we eliminated the need for work?” asked Khosla. “In a 40-year time frame, we will eliminate the need for work. We will eliminate the need for jobs.”
Khosla’s ideas are radically forward-thinking — no doubt sparking the interest of entrepreneurs in the room in how to use technology to see big ideas like Khosla’s come to fruition. It’s this future that the CDL is helping to build. As CDL Founding Fellow Dan Debow puts it: “We are just getting started.”
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).