Creative Destruction Lab Rockies launches new energy stream


 Photo Credit: Kelly Hofer, Haskayne School of Business

Photo Credit: Kelly Hofer, Haskayne School of Business

Nine-month intensive program for early-stage energy ventures begins at Haskayne School of Business

TInnovators, scientists and inventors in the energy sector now have a new program that will help them bring their technologies to the market. This weekend, the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Rockies at Haskayne will select the first group of 25 ventures in the program’s inaugural cohort of CDL Energy.

The ventures are seed-stage startups in areas such as energy infrastructure, digital oil and gas, power generation, bioenergy and energy efficiency. They will participate in the CDL program that taps into the experience of entrepreneurs who have founded, scaled and exited high-growth ventures. Startups work with the mentors to create objectives, prioritize time and resources, raise capital and engage with technical experts in Calgary — the epicentre of the energy industry in Canada.

 Alice Reimer, CDL-Rockies site lead says, “The energy stream of CDL-Rockies aims to de-risk pilot projects and to refine their minimum viable product, as well as to gain access to first customers and live infrastructure.” Photo by Brandie Sunley, for the Haskayne School of Business

Alice Reimer, CDL-Rockies site lead says, “The energy stream of CDL-Rockies aims to de-risk pilot projects and to refine their minimum viable product, as well as to gain access to first customers and live infrastructure.” Photo by Brandie Sunley, for the Haskayne School of Business

“Calgary is already known for its pioneers and energy entrepreneurs and through this program a new generation of innovators and businesses will get their start and help build the growing momentum of the industry in the city and beyond,” says Alice Reimer, CDL-Rockies site lead. “Calgary is a national leader in the number of patents filed, in the level of education in our workforce, the number of research institutions focused on energy and the number of firms in the sector based here. This means we have the talent, customers, investors and experienced mentors with deep knowledge and expertise in the industry: all the ingredients to turn the flywheel of a vibrant energy technology innovation system.”

Interest in the new program was substantial, with 100 applications to the inaugural cohort for CDL Energy and interest from ventures within Canada, Texas, Colorado, United Kingdom, Chile, Dubai, Iran, Singapore, Sweden and India. Creative Destruction Lab Rockies is a non-profit program that takes no equity and charges no fee for participation.

“Currently, the energy industry is looking for ways to drive down costs, increase margins and integrate innovation into their operations,” says Reimer. “The Energy Stream of CDL-Rockies aims to de-risk pilot projects and to refine their minimum viable product, as well as to gain access to first customers and live infrastructure.” The energy-related innovations looking to join the CDL program cover a wide range including carbon to value, hydrocarbon leak detection, digital oilfield data analytics, power management and electricity, extraction and drilling, safety and water technologies.

The Creative Destruction Lab started in 2012 at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and aimed to scale science-based companies. The CDL has already exceeded $3 billion in equity value created and has now expanded to five other locations. The Haskayne School of Business joined as a new location for the CDL program in 2017 and in its inaugural year the startups involved raised almost $14 million.

“In Calgary we deeply understand oil and gas and cleantech — and so do our investors that have the capital to help fund these projects," says Lorraine Becker, senior consultant, recruitment and development, Creative Destruction Lab Rockies. “There is no other program like this for entrepreneurs and certainly nothing remotely like this available globally for energy technology startup companies.”

In addition to the energy stream, the Creative Destruction Lab Rockies has a prime stream that includes startups with innovations tackling problems in a variety of sectors including health care, agriculture and industrials. At all CDL locations students are a part of the process with a CDL course. Haskayne MBA students will now have the unique opportunity to be a part of the next high-growth companies by providing hands-on support to the ventures in both the prime and energy streams.

Graduates from the first cohort of Creative Destruction Lab Rockies included a variety of ventures including some in the energy and cleantech space such as Ingu Solutions Inc., who raised $1 million in equity within six weeks to advance their pipeline testing solution and were selected to do pipeline leak tests in North Dakota.

“We are proud to build on the success of our first year of hosting the CDL program at the Haskayne School of Business to focus on what is a real specialty for the University of Calgary and the region in general,” says Reimer. “In fact, through this effort we are representing Canada’s effort to disrupt, innovate and create economic growth based on our expertise in the energy sector.”

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