Seeking the next big thing: Creative Destruction Lab arrives in Asia Pacific

July 19 2023


A/Prof Charlie Nave, Monash Business School Head Prof Simon Wilkie and Prof Deep Kapur.

In an Asia-Pacific first, Monash Business School is partnering with Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), an objectives-based, equity-free program for massively scalable science and tech-based companies, to establish its first regional location in Melbourne.

Creative Destruction Lab partners with top global business schools, such as the Saïd School of Business at Oxford University, Scheller College of Business at Georgia Tech and HEC Paris. CDL has five sites in Canada, three in the United State and four in Europe.

As an integral part of our industry engagement strategy designed to position Monash Business School as an equal partner to business, we anticipate CDL-Melbourne will provide significant value to Australian companies and those in the Asia Pacific.

CDL-Melbourne located at Monash Business School will become the 13th CDL and become a locus for early stage deep technology ventures in Australia and the wider Asia-Pacific region.

The eight-month CDL program employs an objectives-based mentoring process to enhance the performance of technical founders who learn from the insights of experienced entrepreneurs, with the goal of maximising equity-value creation.

Helping ventures scale and succeed

The program combines four elements to help ventures transition to scalable and financeable companies:

  • Focused mentorship from domain experts and experienced entrepreneurs who have founded, led, and sold significant tech companies
  • Technical advice from world-leading scientists, engineers, and economists, who are leaders in their respective fields
  • Hands-on support from top students who are embedded within the ventures
  • Opportunities to engage with angels, VCs and institutions from North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific

Program ‘streams’ range from AI, climate, blockchain and fintech, energy, to health, oceans, quantum computing and machine learning and space.

Graduates include companies such as Tenstorrent (deep learning processors), North (augmented reality, acquired by Google), Atomwise (deep learning drug discovery), Xanadu (quantum computing) and Eavor (geothermal energy).

“This provides an unparalleled opportunity for Australian and regional deep technology ventures to actively engage with some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and scientists; and gain critical access to the regions that will help them scale and succeed,” the CDL-Melbourne Site Lead, Associate Professor Charlie Nave, says.

As a measure of success, more than 1,700 companies have gone through the highly competitive CDL program, creating more than A$32 billion in equity value across twenty streams including AI, climate, fintech, energy, biotech, health, quantum and space.

Highly competitive program

“What has impressed me the most is the global nature of this program and the collaboration across sites to maximise the outcomes not only for ventures, but for investors and industry,” says Professor Deep Kapur, Deputy Dean External Engagement and Chair of CDL-Melbourne.

“What distinguishes the CDL program is its highly competitive objectives-based model. Founders meet regularly with mentors to convince them their ventures can scale into massive, venture-fundable businesses.

“Those that fail are voted off the program. Typically less than half of participants make it to the end.

“The culmination of the CDL program involves the successful companies taking part in an international Super Session where they can come into contact with investors and seed funders.

“What distinguishes the CDL program is its highly competitive objectives-based model. Founders meet regularly with mentors to convince them their ventures can scale into massive, venture-fundable businesses.

“The Super Session, held every June, opens doors to an extraordinary international opportunity that would not be possible elsewhere.

“Additionally, in its second year, CDL-Melbourne will offer the Apprentice Program, which supports young women aged 14-18 years interested in embarking on a STEM-based commercial career, or entrepreneurship.

“This program fosters an entrepreneurship mindset and aims to help bring young women into the innovation ecosystem; we know that less than 3% of venture capital goes to solely women-led startups.”

Seeking out innovators

Launching the CDL-Melbourne partnership, Professor Simon Wilkie, Head of Monash Business School and Chief Economist for CDL-Melbourne, says it reflects the imperative to seek out the most innovative, and value-add initiatives for our students and industry partners.

“CDL has proven itself to deliver on all accounts and we are delighted to be the first university in the Asia Pacific region to partner with CDL.”

The CDL-Melbourne program will launch at the end of 2023 with an initial sector agnostic focus, being the Prime Stream.

Call for mentors

Over the coming weeks and months CDL-Melbourne will be actively identifying, and seeking, highly regarded mentors and experts, as well as leading early stage technology-based ventures who wish to be part of the program.

Associate Professor Charlie Nave says the Asia Pacific region is the perfect location for the next CDL program.

“The Asia Pacific region is predicted by the IMF to contribute 70 percent of global growth in 2023, buoyed by China and India. So it’s a great time to launch a program aimed at bolstering the plans of value-seeking companies internationally.

“As a highly sophisticated economy that is recognised as world-leading in terms of governance and regulatory oversight, Australia is also distinctly “can-do” when it comes to entrepreneurialism, particularly in bio-tech fields and climate-related commercialism.

“We recognise that the challenge for early-stage founders is finding opportunities to hone growth plans, prioritise resources and build global networks.

“This is an amazing opportunity for potential mentors to tap into early- stage firms that are creating future solutions to the problems facing many industries right now.

“Mentors and investor participants can choose to invest in any of the firms if there is a call for funds.

“These mentors will be recognised alongside the world’s finest entrepreneurs, scientists and economists.”

Learn more about Creative Destruction Lab Melbourne