So, What is Creative Destruction?
Creative destruction by definition describes the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” It occurs when innovation deconstructs long-standing arrangements and frees resources to be deployed elsewhere.
About the Creative Destruction Lab
One of the major factors contributing to how fast technology has been progressing over recent years is the ease at which information can be disseminated. CDL further expedites that dissemination of information by bringing together top entrepreneurs, business professionals, academics, and students from across the world. CDL is a seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies. The nine-month program pairs founders with experienced entrepreneurs and investors to set focused, measurable objectives with the goal of helping companies grow quickly and sustainably. Since its inception in 2012, companies that have participated in the CDL program have created $2.5 billion (CAD) in equity value. Continuing to achieve success requires that CDL accept ventures that have products with the potential to make a massive impact. Ranging from AI to Space to EnviroTech, the impact of the companies who participate in CDL spans multiple industries. This year, there was a particularly interesting group of companies who operate in the renewables space. Some of these companies include:
- Clir (CDL-West) has a cloud-based SaaS software to help increase the amount of energy wind farms produce. Their optimizing and reporting products integrate deep domain expertise with AI to provide a more holistic understanding of the various factors affecting wind farm output; their technology can also be applied to other renewable energies.
- Carbon Upcycling Technologies (CDL-Rockies) has a process to convert CO2 emissions and graphite into a range of solid additives that are marketable across diverse industrial, construction and medical applications.
- Borealis Wind (CDL-Atlantic) improves the reliability and efficiency of wind turbines in cold climates by offering a blade de-icing system.
- BiomeRenewables (CDL-Toronto) helps increase the efficiency of wind, tidal, and hydroelectric energy technologies. Their current product is the PowerCone, which can be bolted onto every major model of wind turbine and increases its energy production by 10-13%.
Creating Positive Change
“Growth in the renewables space is important and something CDL is excited to be contributing towards.” says Sonia Sennik, Executive Director at the Creative Destruction Lab. “Connecting seed-stage companies with experienced Fellows and Associates helps strategic venture progression to support exponential growth.” The impact of the Creative Destruction Lab on a venture’s success is well demonstrated by Clir’s story.
Clir Renewables was founded by Gareth Brown who had been a consultant in the renewable energy industry for eleven years. He repeatedly witnessed problems he knew could be easily solved with technological improvements. Upon starting up Clir, Gareth built a team with expertise in renewables and data science.
In the eight months of participating in CDL, Gareth was introduced to mentors and investors who helped them exceed their financing round goal of $2.1M. They were also challenged to focus on the bigger picture.
Gareth comments on his experience in CDL saying:
“Managing a high growth startup has many challenges. One of those challenges is balancing the company’s short-term goals with the long-term vision. CDL partnered us with mentors who have experience in all phases of startups. Those mentors helped us strategically prioritize objectives to ensure we organized the company in a scalable way.”
Clir’s business intelligence platform currently uses machine learning and AI to create a fitting data model that analyzes information which is then presented in an easily digestible format with personalized and interactive charts and graphs. Clir’s team of professionals then arm their clients with these discovered insights to help them understand what actions they can take to increase their output and profitability. “Our product is all about optimization,” says Gareth, “it’s all about how we can make the biggest positive impact.” Clir’s future vision is to have improved AI that can further increase the capacity of renewable energy power plant operators and managers. CDL is currently home to the greatest concentration of artificial intelligence (AI)-oriented companies of any program globally with many CDL Fellows and Associates being experts in AI.
At the CDL Super Session, Clir was able to meet with some of those experts to make connections and develop relationships that will go beyond the nine-month program.
Progressive mindsets combined with meticulous execution have endless capabilities. The CDL network is full of dedicated experts who enjoy supporting the growth of deep science-based start-up ventures. Connecting these motivated entrepreneurs from around the world accelerates the growth and successes of ventures. The success of Clir is one of many success stories from this year and the other 100+ graduating ventures who are also working to Build Something Massive.
Katie Applebaum is the Marketing and Business Development Specialist with a CDL-West Alumni Venture, Clir Renewables. Katie was also a student participant in University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business CDL Course in 2017/18. Clir is a renewable energy AI software startup whose industry-leading cloud-based tools help asset managers and owners maximize production, and give owners clarity on performance.