For the 2nd part of the blog, I look at the final three hubs that the University of Toronto has to offer. An exploration of the Creative Destruction Lab, UTEST, and the UofT Hatchery further shines a spotlight in what some consider the best accelerators in Canada.
Creative Destruction Lab
Considered Canada’s most eminent start up programs, the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is the accumulation of what the best university in Canada has to offer some of the brightest entrepreneurs in the country. In their 20 month program the CDL has been able to raise over $130 Million in equity and helping an astounding twenty ventures hit the market. Located at the downtown core, the lab is a first of its kind to provide specific help to motivated MBA students at the Rotman School of Management. What really separates CDL from the rest of the pack of Hubs in Canada is what they call the G7 Fellows. The G7 fellows are some of Canada’s most experienced and successful entrepreneurs whom have decades of time spent in their respective fields. Not only do the G7 fellows act as mentors but investors inside the CDL as well. The CDL is also expanding their program this year to add a second cohort that is exclusively on machine-learning ventures. Just like all of UofT accelerators this program is completely free of equity. The application process is considered quite strenuous as only the teams with extremely high potential are invited.
The University of Toronto Early-Stage Technology Program is a 12 month incubator for exclusively UofT students looking to get their ideas out the door. Unlike most traditional hubs, UTEST accepts companies in the earliest stages of idea generation, even before they are ready for a more traditional incubator. One of the biggest catches of going through this program is that it awards each company who successfully completes the program with $30,000 in start-up funds. Located in the downtown core, UTEST and the MaRs District are very closely connected and if accepted into the program, entrepreneurs will work with MaRs District very closely. There is also the opportunity to access additional funding from MaRs Innovation later on.
The Hatchery is an engineering based hub located at the St. George Campus. They bring the teams through three different stages as a part of the program: Entrepreneurial Evangelism, Hatchery Process, and Start-Up Launch. The program provides a unique set of tools to help teams which include weekly sessions, speaker series, in addition to events like Accelerator Weekend and Hackathon. The Hatchery also connects teams with mentors and Rotman MBA students whom help develop and support their team, network, and business model canvas. Working with UofT Hatchery provides engineering students a unique chance to incorporate their skills and expand their skill set by connecting them with students from across the campus.