Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada partner with the Creative Destruction Lab Montreal

Entrepreneurs / 29th November 2017

Bank of Montreal (BMO) and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) are injecting $4 million into the Creative Destruction Lab Montreal (CDL-Montreal),  which helps innovators transition from science projects to high-growth companies. The CDL-Montreal was unveiled last spring, and on December 15th the first cohort, entirely made up of artificial intelligence startups will enter the program.

More than 200 new businesses have submitted their applications; half of them are based abroad (e.g. the United StatesSpainEngland). Of these, 28 were selected to be part of the first cohort. The vast majority already have a patent or are in the process of obtaining one. Their average financing has reached $900,000. Entrepreneurs who have pursued doctoral studies head most of these startups.

This year’s program runs until June 2018. During this time the startups in the program will receive objectives-based coaching led by experienced entrepreneurs, representatives of major investment funds and world-class scientists, with the goal of maximizing equity-value creation. Selected applicants will have the opportunity to collaborate with the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO) and the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA), whose teams, including researcher Yoshua Bengio, are recognized internationally for their work in data science, operational research and AI.

“The CDL-Montreal program represents a stimulant challenge not only for our startup companies but also for all the partners involved in this innovative project,” said Fil Papich, Co-Head BMO Capital Markets, Quebec. “HEC Montréal’s commitment to building bridges between BMO and the top emerging technology companies provides us with a valuable perspective on providing products and services that enable technology entrepreneurs to accomplish their business ventures.”

“This is our moment to emerge as an international AI powerhouse and nurturing the Canadian startup ecosystem will help us do so,” says Dr. Foteini Agrafioti, head, Borealis AI and chief science officer, RBC. “By partnering with the Creative Destruction Lab and investing in their Montreal location, we want to ensure startups in the region find the network of support and resources they need to compete on the global stage where they belong.”

The CDL-Montreal is the result of a partnership between HEC Montréal and the University of Toronto’sRotman School of Management. The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) is a premier seed-stage program for massively scalable, science-based companies. The CDL is neither an incubator nor an accelerator: it is a program which supports the most promising fledgling business enterprises by offering support from mentor investors, investment funds, and AI and data science leaders. Furthermore, specially selected MBA students will assist these startups with their business plans, with a possible emphasis on human resources, marketing, finance and administration according to each venture’s needs.

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