Creative Destruction Lab Joins University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, Establishing CDL-Seattle


Focus on Computational Health Merges Strengths in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning with Biological and Biomedical Expertise to Launch Companies That Revolutionize Diagnostic and Therapeutic Outcomes.


In January 2020, UW Provost Mark Richards announced the formation of the UW Innovation Roundtable comprised of some of the region’s leading venture capitalists, angel investors, and innovation leaders. One of the Roundtable’s working groups, co-chaired by Emer Dooley, Pat Hughes Faculty Fellow at the Foster School and Bill McAleer, founder of Voyager Capital, focused on identifying and assessing the best accelerator model to implement at UW.

They evaluated five different models and selected Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) as the best option.

Emer Dooley, who will be the lead on CDL-Seattle, said that one of the huge attractions to CDL’s incubator model was the absence of an equity stake in the aspiring companies. “There’s nothing wrong with taking an equity position,” said Dooley, “but imagine the incentive to early-stage, cutting-edge companies of an immersive experience like CDL-Seattle.”

Emer Dooley talking to students in a classroom

Emer Dooley, Entrepreneurship Faculty member at the Foster School, will lead CDL-Seattle.

Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), a nonprofit organization for massively scalable, seed-stage, science- and technology-based companies, is launching its third U.S.-based location with Seattle. Housed at the UW’s Foster School of Business, CDL-Seattle is a partnership with Microsoft Corporation, the UW College of Engineering, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, and CoMotion, UW’s collaborative innovation hub. The area of focus for CDL-Seattle’s first stream is computational health.

Think of computational health as a powerful tool in unraveling a complex, big data puzzle

The first focus area of computational health is well suited to the strengths of UW and the strength of the region in terms of computing, medicine, and life sciences. While the past decade saw increasing use of digital health technology, the next decade will center on artificial intelligence and edge computing, with the proliferating use of health sensors. The field of Computational Health exists at the interface of biomedical signal processing, computational modeling, machine learning, and health informatics to drive innovation in research, clinical and customer-facing applications.

“Think of computational health as a powerful tool in unraveling a complex, big data puzzle,” said Emer Dooley. “Whether it’s mapping the immune system, mining population health data to address inequity, or helping optimize individuals’ health care, AI and ML are essential tools. Washington state has incredible cloud computing, AI and ML expertise and a vibrant biotech sector. We need to bring the two closer together.”

Experienced entrepreneurs who have founded, led, and sold successful tech companies, along with world-leading scientists, engineers, and economists will serve as mentors to participating startups. In addition, UW students and faculty will have an opportunity to apply their expertise and learning to advance science- and technology-based companies in computational health.

A partnership of investors–Artie Buerk, Neal Dempsey, Bill McAleer, Rob Short, and Steve Singh–backed CDL-Seattle, helping the initiative gain early momentum.

Selected ventures will begin the nine-month CDL program in November 2021. Reach out to the team at [email protected] with questions.

Creative Destruction Lab logo

Applications are currently being accepted online at

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