Creative Destruction Lab’s (CDL) Calgary accelerator, CDL-Rockies, recently secured a $3 million investment deal from the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund (OCIF) and $1.8 million from the federal government through Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan).
CDL-Rockies was selected by OCIF following a request for proposals for business incubators and accelerators in March, to address the scaleup gap in Calgary’s innovation ecosystem. The accelerator can receive up to $3 million from OCIF over five years.
CDL-Rockies currently operates three program streams focused on industry-agnostic innovations, energy evolution, and agricultural technology. CDL-Rockies introduced its agriculture stream in 2020 to help seed-stage science and technology-based startups in the agriculture and food space.
OCIF’s investment will enable the creation of a fourth industry stream in year two, according to CDL-Rockies, and supports its Nurture Program for ventures in earlier stages of development.
OCIF was created as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Calgary in 2018. The fund is administered by Calgary Economic Development.
The $1.8 million from the Government of Canada will primarily support CDL-Rockies in the expansion of its agriculture program stream to serve more Calgary and Western Canada-based AgTech firms.
CDL-Rockies is mainly funded by philanthropy and corporate partnerships. Since its inception the firm has entered into three contribution agreements with the Government of Canada totalling $3 million. CDL-Rockies has drawn around $1.15 million of the available funding from those three agreements, which require CDL-Rockies to “raise and spend matching revenues.”
Launched in 2017 and based out of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, CDL-Rockies focuses on startups developing innovative solutions for the energy market by leveraging the region’s expertise in the oil and gas industry.
CDL alumni companies based in Alberta have raised over $200 million in capital, according to Jim Dewald, dean of the Haskayne School of Business and member of CDL’s strategic advisory board.
“From that seed investment of just over $4 million from Calgary philanthropists in 2017, CDL-Rockies has become a pillar of the innovation ecosystem enabling tech, agriculture and energy companies to thrive,” he said.
For program year 2021-22 CDL-Rockies is working with 72 startups. Over the next five years, CDL-Rockies predicts it will support 120 ventures through its program, 200 ventures through the Nurture Program, and generate an estimated $157.5 million of capital investment. It also forecasts it will create 315 jobs in Calgary through the growth of its supported ventures.