Creative Destruction Lab

Programme overview


Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a seed-stage programme for massively scalable, science-based companies.

The 9-month programme pairs founders with experienced entrepreneurs and investors to set focused, measurable objectives with the goal of maximising equity-value creation. Founded in 2012 by Professor Ajay Agrawal at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, the programme has now expanded with locations in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Oxford and Vancouver.



With CDL we are taking the next step to support world-class scientific research and innovation across the UK and Europe.

Dean Peter Tufano

Saïd Business School

Creative Destruction Lab: Build Something Massive

CDL video



CDL-Oxford is located at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

The first CDL site in Europe, CDL-Oxford maximises the probability of success for science and technology-based startups from across the globe. Housed at one of the leading universities in the world, CDL-Oxford also leverages its close proximity to London, a global epicenter of innovation.

The 9-month programme includes 4 full-day, on-site sessions focused on objective setting, and culminates in a 'Super Session' that brings together the most promising ventures from across all CDL sites.

CDL-Oxford currently offers two streams:

  1. Artificial Intelligence Stream - designed to support startups predicated on the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  2. Health Stream - designed to help technical teams bring their medical and biological innovations to market by providing access to accomplished business mentors, health experts, scientists, and investors. This stream will accept founders pursuing commercial opportunities predicated on translational science and technology innovations in the fields of health, medical, and life sciences.

Applications for the above streams are now open till 10 August 2020.

CDL-Oxford is also hosting CDL Recovery, a temporary, global stream that will rapidly transform technological innovations into useful products and services that address public health and economic recovery challenges created by the global COVID-19 crisis. The programme is designed to anticipate and address some of the most pressing needs that will arise over the next 6-18 months. All types of innovative teams can apply – start-ups, corporations, informal collaborations, sole inventors, social impact ventures and not-for-profit initiatives.

Read the Press release on Recovery



CDL gives business founders and MBA students an opportunity to engage with highly successful entrepreneurs and scientists and learn from their judgment.

Ajay Agrawal

Creative Destruction Lab Founder & Professor

CDL alumni

Since its inception in 2012, companies that have participated in the CDL programme have created over £2 billion in equity value. CDL Alumni include North (Waterloo), Atomwise (San Francisco), Deep Genomics (Toronto), Automat (Montreal), Kyndi (Palo Alto) and Heuritech (Paris).


This innovative Hub – the first in Europe – will help our start-ups get the support they need to take their ideas to market and scale up their businesses.

Chris Skidmore

UK Science and Innovation Minister