Do I need to have links to a North American university or college?
No. CDL accepts ventures from around the world. Many have strong links to university-based research labs but this is not a prerequisite.
I have no experience in business, can I be a founder?
Yes. CDL excels at helping founders with deep technical expertise find the right business models and learn to operate their ventures.
What CDL Location or Stream should I apply to?
There are multiple criteria you should consider when deciding which CDL Location and Stream to select as your preference. The most important considerations include:
Can I apply to multiple Locations and Streams?
Yes. Ventures that complete the interview stage will be asked to rank CDL Locations and Streams. Whenever possible, ventures will be offered admission to their preferred Location and Stream.
How does the selection process work?
All ventures must apply using this form. You will be informed by August 30 whether you have been shortlisted for the interview stage. Shortlisted candidates are interviewed in September. Admission decisions are made in late September by a selection committee at each CDL Location and a matching process is used to ensure that ventures are offered admission to the highest ranked Location and Stream that is willing to offer admission.
Can I start a company based on my PhD/master’s research?
Yes. Some of CDL’s most impressive alumni are graduate students who used their research to found a company including:
What if I don’t have a co-founder?
Having a co-founder is not strictly required but is advisable. The majority of ventures admitted to the CDL have 2 or more co-founders.
I just started. Is my company too early?
CDL typically admits companies that have advanced beyond the concept stage and that have developed or are working on a prototype. Demonstrating that you are committed to building a product or service is important to unlocking interest and support from mentors and future investors.
Am I too late if I’ve already raised a seed round?
CDL’s sweet spot is working with ventures that plan to raise a seed round (approx. US $500K to $5M) within 12 months of applying. However, several post-seed stage ventures have used the program as springboards to their Series A including Automat and Kyndi. You should speak to a CDL team member and consult the list of mentors linked to each Site to determine fit if you are thinking of applying as a later-stage candidate.
Is it ok to be pre-revenue?
Yes. Many of the ventures admitted to CDL do not have significant recurring revenue. CDL has worked with many strong technical teams to help achieve product-market fit and to optimize early business models.
Do I need to relocate?
No. Build your company where you think you have the best opportunity to succeed. All we need from you is the commitment to send a founder to each of the five day-long CDL Sessions.
Can I join CDL if I am enrolled in another accelerator/incubator/program?
Yes. CDL is complementary to other support networks for early stage ventures. In 2018, CDL admitted multiple companies that were concurrently participating in programs like Y Combinator and Techstars.
How much funding will I receive?
There is no guaranteed investment at CDL. We support the financing of ventures through a series of close interactions with Fellows & Associates who have the capacity to invest.
Can I interview remotely?
Yes but we encourage you to attend an in-person Interview Day. Each Site will hold an in-person Interview Day in mid-September for ventures that advance to the interview stage. Ventures headquartered more than a 2-3 hour drive from any CDL Site will have the option of travelling to interview day to attend in person, or interviewing online via Skype or Google Hangouts.
What are the fees to participate?
There are no fees for participation.
Can ventures be enrolled in more than one CDL Location or Stream at once?
No. A Venture can only be enrolled in one Location or Stream in order to preserve continuity of relationships with the specific mentors who participate in each Location or Stream.