Chris Hadfield leading Creative Destruction Lab’s program for space-related startups

The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management has launched CDL-Space, a program designed for entrepreneurs building science-based companies in space-related markets.

CDL-Space will be led by the program’s founding fellow, Colonel Chris Hadfield, who is the first Canadian to walk in space and the former commander of the International Space Station. The nine-month program will provide early-stage space startups with access to capital, as well as technical and business support. Specifically, the program will support startups looking to commercialize technologies related to telecommunication, vision, propulsion, robotics, and mineral extraction in space. Participating startups will work with astronauts, scientists, entrepreneurs, and senior leaders of public space agencies.

CDL said it hopes to launch 60 space companies over the next five years through the program.

“CDL-Space is the first coordinated effort by an entrepreneurship program to support the formation and scaling of next-generation space ventures.”
– Anousheh Ansari

“There are some amazing things happening in space exploration right now. From Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy launch to the 6 crew living in orbit on the Space Station to the world’s space agencies putting human research stations on the moon, it is a time of great opportunity,” said Hadfield. “We are launching CDL-Space to accelerate this opportunity. By assembling a community of world-class experts and founders, we will push the boundaries of the commercial space industry. We are at the frontier of a new space economy. Now is the time to place a bet on the next generation of space entrepreneurs.”

Ansari Xprize founder Anousheh Ansari, a fellow of CDL-Space and the co-founder of Telecom Technologies, said there is a need for entrepreneurs to collaborate and develop technologies that enable humans to travel beyond Earth.

“We are explorers and it is inevitable for humans to travel beyond our planet and build civilizations elsewhere. This challenge is important for continuity of life for our species,” she said. “CDL-Space is the first coordinated effort by an entrepreneurship program to support the formation and scaling of next-generation space ventures that will help us realize this future. I’m excited to leverage the CDL’s track record of successes for the purpose of transforming technical projects focused on frontier space technologies into scalable companies.”

In May 2017, CDL announced a national expansion into Montreal, Calgary, and Halifax. The lab also expanded into New York City in October 2017.

CDL-Space is accepting applications until August 10. Selected startups will begin the program in October 2018.

Photo via Unsplash

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.