Great-West Life Contributes $300,000 to Toronto’s Creative Destruction Lab

A massive Canadian insurer is investing money to help tech entrepreneurs reach their goals.

Great-West Life has announced that they are contributing $300,000 over three years to the Toronto location of the Creative Destruction Lab. The lab is located at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and works like tech startups that have a goal rooted in economic prosperity or the improvement of human prosperity.

“With Creative Destruction Lab, we’re looking to foster the next great innovations in health and financial technology,” said Ben Harrison, VP of Innovation at Great-West Life. “Our industry is changing, and we want to be at the table with disruptive entrepreneurs helping scale their businesses and learning from their ingenuity. We’re looking for creative ideas and partnership opportunities with the potential to transform how we do business and improve the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians.”

The Creative Destruction Lab program lasts nine months and it provides elected entrepreneurs with access to industry leaders, business development plans from top Rotman students, and possible funding opportunities from venture capital firms. Cutting-edge companies like Thalmic Labs and Nymi are alums of the Creative Destruction Lab.

Last year, Creative Destruction Lab Toronto’s graduating ventures raised more than $46 million over the course of that last program.

“At the Creative Destruction Lab, we are privileged to work with many innovative leaders across different industries such as financial technology,” explained Sonia Sennik, Executive Director of CDL-Global. “Great-West Life is enthusiastic to collaborate with our ventures in pursuit of innovative breakthroughs for their company and customers. We are excited to have their support.”

Over 100 companies are enrolled in the Toronto Creative Destruction Lab this year. Earlier this month, several of the companies attended full-day sessions where they met with mentors, potential investors, and more. Great-West Life attended these meetings as well and spoke with a few companies, and though it appears they are interested in meeting with healthcare or other companies that relate directly to their business model, it is not clear that those are the only kinds of companies that may receive some of the new funding.

If that si the case, it makes sense for Great-West Life to provide funding as it gives them an inside view into some of the leading medtech companies coming through the ranks. They can develop partnerships early and look at the possibility of leveraging new tech into their plans.

Though the Toronto location of the Creative Destruction Lab was the first, it has since expanded to several other Canadian cities and even down into the U.S. in New York City. There are now locations in Calgary, Halifax, Vancouver and Montreal.

This is not the first time a large corporation has invested money into the Creative Destruction Lab. Last year, BMO and RBC invested a combined $4 million into the Montreal location in a bid to fund the AI scene further while simultaneously looking into potential partners down the line.