Creative Destruction Lab launches COVID-19 rapid response program


Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) has launched a new program to focus on rapidly transforming tech innovations to aid in the current global crisis.

Called CDL Recovery, the program is designed to turn innovations into useful products and services for areas of public health and economic recovery. The idea is to “anticipate and address” some of the most pressing needs that will arise over the next six to eighteen months.

“Industry leaders…express the need to assume a wartime footing in response to COVID-19. Thus, our launch of CDL Recovery.”

“Novel crises require novel responses,” said Ajay Agrawal, professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and founder of the Creative Destruction Lab. “Novel responses require innovation, often predicated on insights from science … today, many industry leaders, policy-makers, and academics express the need to assume a wartime footing in response to COVID-19. Thus, our launch of CDL Recovery.”

The program is for individuals and teams developing innovations that can directly address critical health or economic recovery challenges created by COVID-19. It will follow the traditional CDL program structure and is open to all types of innovative teams, including startups, corporations, informal collaborations, sole inventors, social impact ventures, and not-for-profit initiatives. CDL noted that the structure of CDL Recovery will be “at twice the regular cadence” compared to its other programs.

CDL Recovery is being supported by Scale AI, the Montreal-based Supercluster funded through the Government of Canada. CDL noted that Scale AI’s support will bolster the program’s capacity “to respond nimbly” to current evolving needs, scaling products, and services, getting these to market “as quickly as possible.”

RELATED: Ontario manufacturing Supercluster investing $50 million to support COVID-19 solutions

CDL highlighted areas like diagnostic tests, vaccines, remote treatments, telemedicine, virtual works, retraining, remote operation, automation, and food supply, as potential areas to address.

Once the cohort is chosen, CDL Recovery will host “objective-setting” sessions between April and August.

CDL is a not-for-profit program focused on seed-stage science- and technology-based companies. Founded in 2012 by Agrawal at the University of Toronto, CDL typically offers a nine-month program that pairs founders with experienced entrepreneurs and investors. CDL has expanded to more than eight cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Halifax, Oxford, Paris, and most recently Atlanta.

Applications for CDL Recovery are currently open.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Senior Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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