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Responding to COVID-19 by supporting innovative startups

CDL-Montréal contributes to the Recovery program

November 12, 2020

Photo credit: Claudia Loutfi
A CDL-Montréal session in the spring of 2019 moderated by HEC Montréal professors Jean-François Ouellet, Brian King and Denis Grégoire.

The special CDL Recovery program, launched in the spring of 2020 with the help of Creative Destruction Lab Montréal (CDL-Montréal), could mean plenty of good news in the search for a solution to the current global crisis.

CDL Recovery was founded in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the goal of helping a number of scientific startups to transform their technological innovations into goods and services useful for public health fields or to foster economic recovery.

Virtual meetings between startups and mentors

The first phase took place between May and August 2020, with the assistance of the CDL-Montréal team. Participating firms could take advantage of the Montréal ecosystem’s recognized expertise in supply chains and artificial intelligence.

Over those 4 months, a series of screening sessions were held online. Of the 550 submissions received from 45 countries, 99 were initially chosen. These 99 startups had several meetings with mentors associated with the program – 150 investors or entrepreneurs of the worldwide CDL network. In keeping with the CDL approach, these meetings gave the young companies an opportunity to define a series of objectives and start taking steps to achieve them.

Universities contribute

The participating startups also received support and assistance from over 50 MBA students at 5 universities, including HEC Montréal. Members of the School's faculty associated with CDL also oversaw the process and offered advice during this first stage in the program. By the end of the summer sessions, 28 firms had graduated. The process will continue for them this fall, under the leadership of CDL-Atlanta.

Technological solutions to manage the crisis

Many of the startups taking part in CDL Recovery are working hard to come up with technological solutions that directly address healthcare challenges, in particular tracking COVID-19, but also medical follow-up of cases and the development of vaccines and treatments. Other entrepreneurs are suggesting means of encouraging businesses during this pandemic or solutions for managing teleworking.

Lastly, note that some of the graduates of the CDL Recovery program will also join CDL’s 2020/21 core program at one of its nine locations, in order to further develop their ventures.