Morgan Stanley has announced the second cohort of the Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled start-ups in the post-seed to Series B funding rounds.
The program, now in its second year, targets companies with a multicultural or female founder, co-founder, CTO or other member of C Suite that is developing innovative solutions across sectors.
The Lab is doubling its cohort size following a successful inaugural year and a general increase in investment and media attention.
One acquisition for a previous cohort member has been attributed to increased visibility from the program with a second company accepted into another prestigious accelerator program,
The Lab will make investments in these early stage high-growth companies and will support the founders’ growth and development through its ecosystem of internal and external partners.
“The monumental success of the inaugural class proves that the market inefficiency in accessing capital within the start-up scene for women and multicultural entrepreneurs leads to a positive commercial outcome,” said Carla A. Harris, head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group at Morgan Stanley.
“By specifically catering to top high-growth multicultural entrepreneurs, the Multicultural Innovation Lab presents a unique opportunity for disruptive start-ups to increase their visibility, accelerate their business and achieve success.”
The Lab is designed to help drive positive economic outcomes around diversity by providing content, visibility, technical support and connectivity with important stakeholders who might be essential in accelerating the growth of their businesses.
The companies, selected out of 300 applications submitted within one month, will be fully immersed in the program working from Morgan Stanley’s global headquarters in Times Square, New York, and receive support by a dedicated team creating tailored experiences to help each company grow.
The six-month program will begin in April and culminate in a second Multicultural Innovation Lab Showcase and Demo Day in mid-November which will expose companies to potential investors through showcase format presentations.
Understanding that access to capital alone isn’t sufficient, the Lab brings in best-in-class content and connectivity for the entrepreneurs.
William Crowder, formerly head of Comcast Ventures’ Catalyst Fund and now founding partner at 42 Venture Partners, will be returning as its entrepreneur-in-residence.
Crowder will serve as a strategic advisor to both the entrepreneurs and the Multicultural Client Strategy team throughout the duration of the Lab to help participating companies address and conquer challenges that will increase performance and progress.
Additionally, with input from other partners such as Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, entrepreneurs in the Lab will have unparalleled access to subject matter experts, practitioners and investors all committed to their success.
“The Multicultural Innovation Lab addresses the large funding gap between traditional and multicultural/women start-up founders,” said Morgan Stanley managing director Alice Vilma.
“Morgan Stanley’s global reach will provide the capital, connections and curriculum needed for these innovative companies to both grow and scale.”
The companies that have been selected for the 2018 cohort include Baby2Body, which is a fully automated personal health and wellbeing coaching app for pregnant women and mothers.
Also included is CariClub, which uses an enterprise software solution to help employees establish a professional network for social impact, connecting young professionals with nonprofit leadership opportunities.