In September 2016, the UBC Sauder School of Business launched the Western Canada extension of the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL). Started in 2012 at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, CDL helps high-calibre technology start-ups activate their commercial potential and benefit to society. After the success of the first expansion test in Vancouver, CDL now operates at 12 sites around the globe, anchored at research-intensive universities across North America and in the UK and Europe. Today, CDL-Vancouver hosts four streams: Compute, Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Therapies, and Climate, focusing on the convergence of technologies that improve human health and wellness and advance solutions to preserve our natural world.

Building Something Massive

CDL is an objective-based mentorship program that supports participating ventures in accelerating their trajectory as they work to scale ambitious tech-based businesses. Over a period of nine months, participating ventures attend five full-day Sessions during which CDL Mentors – a collective of leading entrepreneurs, experienced operators and subject matter experts – help to set three objectives for ventures to prioritize over the following eight weeks. Participating ventures have the opportunity to interface with, and learn from, individual and corporate partners, UBC students and pedigreed guests who bring a wide range of domain expertise and ecosystem connections.

Venture Success

Since launching in 2016, CDL-Vancouver has accepted 300+ ventures into the program. As of August 2022, the CDL-V Ventures have generated over $4.01 billion in equity value. Amongst the ventures that have participated in CDL sites across the network, over $20 billion has been generated in total equity value. This success of CDL-Vancouver companies is a direct result of the support of over 130 mentors who have committed 5,000+ hours annually to supporting the site's ecosystem.

See a list of graduated CDL Vancouver ventures:

Compute Stream

For founders who seek to commercialise new computing hardware and/or software technologies that will impact humankind in the same ways the printing press, the personal computer, and the internet did. The Compute Stream at CDL-Vancouver, interdisciplinary by design, will feature both hardware and/or software solutions changing how and where the computing happens.

Biomedical Engineering Stream

For founders commercialising engineering innovations to improve the quality, speed, cost, or accessibility of healthcare. The Biomedical Engineering Stream is particularly suited for highly-skilled entrepreneurs and researchers who are developing innovative technologies based on engineering principles and multidisciplinary sciences to solve health, biological and medical needs, and is offered at CDL-Toronto and CDL-Vancouver.

Advanced Therapies Stream

For founders solving biological, medical, and healthcare problems using cutting-edge therapeutics, including cell and gene therapies, biologics, drug-antibody conjugates, and other biological products. The Advanced Therapies Stream operates across four CDL sites (CDL-Oxford, -Toronto, -Vancouver and -Wisconsin) and aims to accelerate the translation of science and technology innovations from across the therapeutic value chain.

Climate Stream

For founders developing high impact, scalable solutions that tackle climate change and environmental degradation, to help preserve and protect our natural world. The CDL Climate Stream at CDL-Paris, CDL-Oxford, and CDL-Vancouver will unlock the potential of cutting-edge research and accelerating its path to commercialization.The Climate Stream is particularly suited to technical founders who are tackling climate, natural resource and environmental challenges predicated on novel innovations across a wide variety of enabling technology categories.

World Class Mentorship

CDL is a mentorship first program; participating ventures will have the opportunity to interact directly with CDL Mentors to identify and customise achievable but challenging, and most importantly relevant, practical objectives. CDL Mentors are the highest calibre resource for judgement; they have built significant technology companies themselves and / or contributed novel technical and scientific advancements, and are better positioned than anyone to help Venture Founders, who are trying to solve big problems, make meaningful progress in building a disruptive, scalable business. The CDL-Vancouver mentor group also boast many UBC and Sauder alumni, including, but not limited to, Paul Geyer (Fellow, BME), Ali Pejman (Associate, Compute), John Lefebvre (Associate, Climate), Ali Tehrani (Fellow, Advanced Therapies) and Ajay Agrawal (Founder of the CDL and Professor, Rotman School of Management).

The Role of UBC Students

In an effort to support the pedagogical advancement of the academic programs at host schools, the CDL Course offers students at the undergraduate and graduate levels real-world exposure to high-potential start-ups in the process of rapid growth and investment, while also strengthening their abilities in market analysis, customer development and other key skills related to building early-stage start-ups. Since 2016, over 240 students have participated in the course. The CDL course has provided a platform for undergraduate and graduate level students from the UBC Sauder School of Business, Faculty of Engineering, and Faculty of Arts to produce unique business development deliverables - including development of pricing models and creation of early stage financing decks for local and international ventures. Furthermore, in collaboration with the UBC Sauder, the CDL MBA Honorarium has promoted the placement of MBA students into CDL venture teams via paid internships with the goal of hiring the students post-honorarium.


Applications for the CDL Course (COMM 489) open in the Spring.