Despite some macro challenges, this year’s participants are ready to hit the ground running as they begin Morgan Stanley’s six-month accelerator program for innovative tech startups led by multicultural entrepreneurs.
The founders of the companies selected for Morgan Stanley’s fourth Multicultural Innovation Lab are used to confronting hurdles. After all, they are among the very people who experience what Morgan Stanley has identified as $4 trillion funding gap when trying to raise capital for their new businesses.
Taking part in the firm’s six-month accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled startups led by women or multicultural entrepreneurs—traditionally held at Morgan Stanley’s New York offices—during the COVID-19 pandemic, has presented its own difficulties. Nevertheless, the founders chosen for the newly announced 2020 cohort have risen to the challenge of working remotely.
“This year’s program has fully kicked off virtually and been running seamlessly,” says Alice Vilma, Co-Head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab. “In addition to offering our pre-established curriculum, the Lab is supporting and advising the cohort around management and operational decisions amid COVID-19, sharing resources from the firm and beyond. This has generated a great sense of community among the participating entrepreneurs as they work to evolve their impressive businesses during an unprecedented time.”
The Lab was created in 2017 to help drive positive economic outcomes for multicultural and women-led companies in the post-seed to Series B funding rounds by providing content, visibility, technical support and connectivity with important stakeholders who can accelerate the growth of participants’ businesses. It also provides access to an ecosystem of best-in-class global partners with a variety of resources.
At the core of the experience is the tailored support and expertise each entrepreneur receives from a dedicated Morgan Stanley team, aimed at helping each company grow and thrive. The program runs into the fall, culminating in the Multicultural Innovation Lab Showcase and Demo Day, which allows the companies to present themselves to potential investors in a pitch format.
“We launched the Multicultural Client Strategy Group with the mission to accelerate growth in companies with diverse founders, and we are proud to kick off our fourth Lab cohort, having witnessed firsthand the success of the program in bringing these businesses to scale,” says Carla Harris, a Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley and Co-Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group. To date, 32 companies have participated in the Lab, resulting in an impressive number of acquisitions and additional funding rounds.
Selected from over 450 applicants globally, the 2020 cohort startups include companies with innovative strategies across sectors such as health care, human-resources tech, food tech, materials and business analytics.
The 2020 Cohort
ADAPDIX offers a software-based platform that monitors and detects equipment, component or system degradations and alerts equipment engineering managers before a failure.
BaseCap Analytics provides software that helps organizations efficiently improve their data quality.
Hurdle is a platform that provides culturally sensitive self-care support and teletherapy as an employee benefit for people of color, beginning with black men.
MedHaul is a web-based marketplace that enables health-care providers to book personalized non-emergency medical transportation for patients, based on their special needs.
Noodie Foods provides convenience-seeking consumers with healthy, instant, shelf-stable and delicious meals.
Praxis Labs is a software-as-a-service company that develops virtual-reality-based diversity and inclusion training modules for the workplace.
SoHookd is a wellness rewards platform that allows companies to reward and incentivize customers and employees at scale.
TeleTails is a software platform that connects pet owners with online, high-quality veterinary care.
Windpact is a technology and materials science company focused on the analysis, design and implementation of impact-protection solutions.