In September 2016, the UBC Sauder School of Business launched the Western Canadian extension of the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a seed-stage program created at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, to help high-calibre technology start-ups activate their commercial potential and benefit to society. From the first expansion test in Vancouver, CDL now operates multiple sites, anchored at research intensive, across North America and in the UK and Europe.

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

CDL-Vancouver, in its first four years of operations, has accepted 187 ventures into the program; these participants collectively raised $235 million in investment (during the program) and have generated over $875 million in equity value. As a collective Global network, CDL companies have generated over $7.3 billion in total equity value.

Prime Stream

For founders pursuing state of the art technological innovations across diverse industries. Distinct from CDL’s specialized streams that each focus on a particular industry or technology, CDL Prime admits diverse ventures pursuing many different applications of technology to industry problems. Strong Prime ventures include those with differentiated technology, regardless of having selected a target industry vertical.

Health Stream

For founders pursuing commercial opportunities predicated on translational science and technology innovations that improve human health and wellness. CDL Health, offered at CDL-Oxford, CDL-Toronto and CDL-Vancouver, helps technical teams bring their health innovations to market by providing access to industry-leading mentors and investors in the life sciences domain.

Climate Stream

For founders developing high impact and scalable solutions to help preserve and protect the natural world. The CDL Climate Stream at CDL-Paris and CDL-Vancouver will provide high impact contributions to climate challenges by unlocking the potential of cutting-edge research and accelerating its path to commercialization.

World Class Mentorship

CDL is a mentorship first program; participating ventures will have the opportunity to interact directly with CDL Mentors in order to identify and customize achievable but challenging, and most importantly relevant, practical objectives. CDL Mentors are the highest calibre resource for judgment; they have built significant technology companies themselves and / or contributed novel technical and scientific advancements, and are better positioned than anyone to help 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, Julia Levy (Fellow, Health), Rich Osborn (Associate, Prime), Jay Rhind (Associate, Prime), Warren Spitz (Associate, Climate), Ali Tehrani (Fellow, Health) and Ajay Agrawal (Founder of the CDL and Professor, Rotman School of Management.

The Role of UBC Sauder 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, the CDL course has provided the platform for hundreds of 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 above streams are now closed. For inquiries about next year’s cycle, please contact the CDL-Vancouver team.