Kelly Hofer for the Haskayne School of Business
Nov. 13, 2019
Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies energy stream graduates 10 ventures in its first cohort
U.K. company Tubular Sciences gains investors, connections and confidence in the hydrocarbon industry
Tubular Sciences was already participating in a 16-week accelerator program in the U.K. to commercialize their mechanical connector for piping, when the Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies (CDL-Rockies) team called to inform the company about the first cohort of the Energy stream.
Elaine Galston, chief executive officer of Tubular Sciences, did not know much about the Creative Destruction Lab at the University of Calgary and its unique milestone-based mentoring and financing program. Although it was a commitment to come to Canada five times during the nine-month program, at the company’s cost, they decided to compete to get into the program. “We spent £15,000-£16,000 to participate, but it was worth three times that.”
Tubular Sciences was one of 10 ventures that graduated from the CDL-Rockies Energy stream in June 2019. The 2018-2019 graduates, 16 in total between the Prime and Energy streams, have raised $23 million for their companies. As CDL-Rockies prepares to welcome the new cohort of ventures into the program on Nov. 13 and 14, 2019, it is fitting to congratulate and recognize the companies that completed the program in 2018-2019.
Opening up markets
The experience at CDL opened up the biggest market for Tubular Sciences technology: surface transportation of hydrocarbons. Processes in pipeline construction have changed very little over the past decades. But with the downward pressure on oil prices, companies are now more eager to find cost savings and Tubular Sciences’ technology can deliver. The mechanical connector, where two pipes are pushed into a sleeve and essentially crimped together, can offer an 80-per-cent reduction in weld time, 75-per-cent less weld personnel, and a 40-per-cent overall cost saving in Canada. The connection system offers a 70-per-cent carbon emissions reduction in comparison to welding. Beyond savings, because heat is removed from the process, it is safer for workers and the integrity of the pipe is not affected. They hope to deliver a simulated on-shore test in Canada with a partner secured via CDL.
Mentors are the power in the program
“Creative Destruction Lab is something completely different in the innovation ecosystem. It is not an accelerator or an incubator but an amazing complement to those programs,” said Alice Reimer, Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies site lead. “The mentoring in the program is what truly makes a difference. The CDL Fellows and Associates get things happening for these new ventures.”
Galston agrees that the mentors are the power in the program. By the time Tubular Sciences came to Calgary for their second CDL session, they had 16 meetings organized for the two and half days they were in the city. Each of these meetings stemmed from a warm introduction from a CDL Fellow or Associate and they were with the right people — CEOs who can make the decisions to move forward with a new technology. Their first letter of intent was signed as a result of one of these meetings.
There is also the connection to potential investors. Since completing the program, Tubular Sciences has lined up seven potential investors: three were among the Fellows and Associates in the CDL-Rockies program and four more they met at Super Session in Toronto, the capping event for all the ventures graduating from the CDL programs.
“CDL gave me the confidence,” says Galston. “Now I say that I have a billion-dollar company. I would have never said that before CDL.”
No fee and no equity taken
The Creative Destruction Lab charges no fees and takes no equity from participating companies. Instead, the program is entirely supported by private donations and corporate sponsorships.
Imperial was the first corporate sponsor for the Energy stream at the Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies signing on just as the first cohort were finishing the program.
“At Imperial, supporting innovation is not limited to within our walls or industry,” says Cheryl Trudell, vice-president research, Imperial. “We support programs, like CDL – Rockies Energy stream, that are inspiring creative thinking, highlighting innovators and support education programs like the one at the University of Calgary.”
Canadian Natural Resources Limited and Suncor have also come aboard as corporate partners for the Energy stream and will be in the room as the next cohort of ventures begin their journey through the program on November 13 and 14, 2019.
Watch the 2018-19 CDL-Rockies graduating ventures as they continue to grow:
- Fluid Biotech Inc.
- True Angle Medical Technologies
- G2V Optics
- Nimble Science
- Hygge Power
- Eavor Technologies
- Tubular Sciences
- Brimstone Energy
- Enersoft Inc.
- Syzygy Plasmonics
- Modern Wellbore Solutions