Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab Reflects on Solid Year of Launching Eight Canadian Startups

It’s been a solid year for the University of Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab, which opened its doors in November 2012 to 18 early-stage ventures.

Eight startups successfully completed an eight-month “boot camp,” raising their collective value by $60 million with three of the ventures raising money from the markets.

“We entered this year believing that if we could match high potential ideas and inventors with some of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs and Canada’s top MBA School we would create at least one venture with the potential to be massively scalable,” says Ajay Agrawal, Peter Munk Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Rotman School and the Lab’s academic director.

Meetings between the board members and the ventures were held every five to six weeks. Lower performing ventures were cut from the program, with eight of the eighteen making it to the final meeting in June.

Here are the eight successful startups:

  • Thalmic Labs: First venture to raise capital and took 30,000 orders for their Myo armband, a gesture control device for human/computer interaction.
  • Weston Expressions: creators of interactive advertisement systems; they were the second venture to secure funding.
  • Bionym: creators of the biometric security system Nymi based on research developed at the University of Toronto; they have recently closed a fundraising round.
  • Vote Compass: a voter literacy tool which has been used in elections in Australia and Canada.
  • Fleetbit: a taxi booking apps service with operations throughout Canada and the United States.
  • DonorIQ: the next generation of CRM tools for fundraisers.
  • Chematria: improves small molecule drug discovery by using big data.
  • Oncoustics: ultrasound-based, cancer treatment monitoring technology that will help improve the outcome of cancer therapy.

“We took a customized approach to what each venture would need to learn and grow. We see ourselves as complimentary to other programs available out there—no one is required to raise money or change their strategy unless they decide it makes sense for them. But the ventures also had to perform up to our expectations to stay in the Lab,” explains Jesse Rodgers.

The Lab will be hosting DemoCampUofT on September 12, which is open to all members of the University of Toronto community.