Creative Destruction @ Foster

New Foster-led initiative to accelerate the evolution of computing in human health

This fall, Foster got destructive. Creatively destructive.

Creative Destruction Lab, an international nonprofit organization accelerating the growth of seed-stage science and tech companies that are massively scalable, has launched its third US location in Seattle.

CDL-Seattle, based at the Foster School, is a partnership with the UW College of Engineering, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and CoMotion, the UW’s hub for collaborative innovation.

The initial focus of CDL-Seattle is computational health—the rise of machine learning and AI applications for enhancing human health.

“Think of computational health as a powerful tool in unraveling a complex, big-data puzzle,” says CLD-Seattle lead Emer Dooley, a teaching professor of entrepreneurship and Charlene M. and Arthur W. Buerk Endowed Faculty Fellow at Foster. “Whether it’s mapping the immune system, mining population health data to address inequity, or helping optimize individuals’ health care, AI and machine learning are essential tools. Washington state has incredible cloud computing, AI and machine learning expertise and a vibrant biotech sector. We need to bring the two closer together.”

Emer Dooley leads Creative Destruction Lab-Seattle, headquartered at the Foster School.

To that end, in November CDL-Seattle enrolled its charter cohort of 20 computational health startups in a unique form of accelerator. Each founding team receives mentoring from world-class scientists, engineers, economists and experienced tech entrepreneurs—with no requirement to cede equity in return. They will be afforded opportunities to raise capital, guidance to meet milestones, and business development support from Foster students.

The CDL-Seattle team.

CDL-Seattle is a product of the UW Innovation Roundtable and powered by numerous founding partners, including veteran investors Artie Buerk (BA 1958) of Buerk Dale Victor, Neal Dempsey (BA 1965) of Bay Partners, Bill McAleer of Voyager Capital, Rob Short of Microsoft, Steve Singh of Madrona Venture Group and Arnie Prentice of Kibble & Prentice. Microsoft, Washington Research Foundation and The Foster Foundation are corporate partners. And Ray Muzyka, Leona De Boer and John Harris are founding partners of CDL-Global.

This lineup has given the initiative instant momentum, which is really the name of the game.

Says CoMotion director François Baneyx: “CDL-Seattle is the missing link in the UW innovation ecosystem and our region.”

Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.