Creative Destruction Lab Launches New Space Stream for Entrepreneurs

Former astronaut Chris Hadfield participates in the first CDL Insights talk series: Life Beyond Earth. Credit: Creative Destruction Lab.

The Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto today officially launched the CDL-Space stream, a new program for budding space entrepreneurs.

According to the CDL “the startups attend five in-person objective-setting sessions between October 2018 and June 2019.” CDL is a non-profit organization and does not charge fees to participate and neither do they take any equity.

The program is currently accepting applications until August 12, 2018 and is looking for science-based companies in space-related markets.

In a press release the CDL said “Colonel Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space and former commander of the International Space Station, leads the program as a Founding Fellow.”

On the announcement of the new program Hadfield said “there are some amazing things happening in space exploration right now. From Elon Musk’s Falcon Heavy launch to the 6 crew living in orbit on the Space Station to the world’s space agencies putting human research stations on the Moon, it is a time of great opportunity. We are launching CDL-Space to accelerate this opportunity. By assembling a community of world-class experts and founders, we will push the boundaries of the commercial space industry. We are at the frontier of a new space economy. Now is the time to place a bet on the next generation of space entrepreneurs.”

The press release further states that “CDL-Space will provide technical and business guidance, as well as access to capital for entrepreneurs working on early-stage space ventures. The program will focus on startups predicated on commercializing advances in telecommunication, vision, propulsion, robotics, and mineral extraction for applications in space. Participating ventures will work with astronauts, world-class scientists, experienced entrepreneurs, and senior leaders of public space agencies. Over the next five years, the program’s mission is to help launch 60 well-capitalized, revenue-generating space companies.”

CDL Insights chat with Chris Hadfield, Firouz M. Naderi, Anousheh Ansari and Dante Lauretta
CDL Insights chat with Chris Hadfield, Firouz M. Naderi, Anousheh Ansari and Dante Lauretta. Credit: Creative Destruction Lab.

Also present for today’s program launch are Anousheh Ansari, Firouz M. Naderi and Dante Lauretta.

Anousheh Ansari was the first female private space traveler, founder of the ANSARI XPRIZE, and is the CEO of Prodea Systems and is a Fellow in the CDL-Space program.

Anousheh Ansari said “we are explorers and it is inevitable for humans to travel beyond our planet and build civilizations elsewhere. This challenge is important for continuity of life for our species. There is a critical mass of entrepreneurs, investors, and organizations around the world that believe in this vision of the future. As an astronaut, entrepreneur, and sponsor of the ANSARI XPRIZE, I believe in the need for deep collaboration in developing technologies that make this vision of life in space, and on other planets feasible. CDL-Space is the first coordinated effort by an entrepreneurship program to support the formation and scaling of next-generation space ventures that will help us realize this future. CDL runs a unique program for scaling technology-based ventures. They convene excellent technology entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs, and academic scientists. I’m excited to leverage the CDL’s track record of successes for the purpose of transforming technical projects focused on frontier space technologies into scalable companies.”

Firouz M. Naderi was the associate director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, former director of the Solar Exploration Program, and former program manager for Mars exploration at NASA.

Dante Lauretta is Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, leader of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Asteroid Sample Return mission to the asteroid Bennu, one of the most Potentially Hazardous near-Earth Asteroids (PHAs).

Other mentors for the program include Barney Pell, Cofounder & CSO, Moon Express and Christine Tovee, Former CTO, Airbus Group, North America and a member of the Space Advisory Board.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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