Venture Recruitment

CDL works with early-stage startups that employ technological innovations that promise a chance of delivering massive improvements to economic productivity and human welfare.

More than 4,000 founders from over 1,700 companies have participated in CDL since 2012, and CAD $8 billion in equity value has been created through the program. CDL does not charge any fees or take equity.

Five key elements help venture founders transform their projects into scalable, financeable companies: 

  • Objective-setting, which guides companies to focus on what is most important to their business.
  • Focused mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs who have founded, led, and sold significant tech companies.
  • Technical advice from world-leading scientists, engineers, and economists.
  • Hands-on support from top UW-Madison students.
  • Opportunities to raise capital, including from angels and venture capitalists in Europe and North America.

Objective-setting is the most important pillar of CDL’s program. CDL Mentors, Fellows and Associates meet with founders one full day every eight weeks at CDL Sessions to assess a company’s progress and choose objectives for the next eight weeks. Each of these Sessions immerses founders in a community of accomplished entrepreneurs with the judgment required to build massively scalable companies.

Hear from CDL-Wisconsin Alumni ventures about their experience:


CDL-Wisconsin primarily supports ventures from around the world in two industries: Risk and Health & Wellness. 


CDL Risk supports ventures who can help transform society’s ability to manage risk. Example technologies and innovations might include enhancing or improving risk management processes, addressing new types of risk such as climate and cybersecurity, loss prevention and mitigation, wearables/IoT devices, or unique data and AI/ML models to drive improved decision making. Click to learn more about the Risk stream

Health & Wellness

CDL Health & Wellness seeks to enhance well-being and improve resilience through preventing, diagnosing and treating medical conditions. This stream primarily engages with ventures who bring medical technology, digital health, healthcare platform, and wellness innovations to market. Additional domain expertise is provided by the School of Medicine and Public Health and the Center for Healthy Minds. Click to learn more about the Health & Wellness stream.

Click here to learn about some of the ventures who graduated from CDL-Wisconsin’s inaugural 2020/21 cohort.

Interested in a technology outside of risk and health? The Creative Destruction Lab has programs that support more than 15 different industries. Learn about the technology Streams offered at other CDL sites around the globe

Are you working on a technology or have you recently launched a tech startup?

Consider applying for the Creative Destruction Lab! The CDL application period will open for the 2022/23 cohort in March 2022. Please check back for more details at that time, or email us if you’re a venture founder interested in hearing from the CDL-Wisconsin team when applications are live.