Morgan Stanley

Multicultural Innovation Lab

Our in-house startup accelerator promotes financial inclusion and provides access to capital for early stage technology and technology-enabled companies led by women and multicultural entrepreneurs.

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Our mission is to create a more inclusive investment landscape for women and diverse founders. We provide a unique opportunity for disruptive startups to access capital, accelerate their business and increase their visibility.
Selma Bueno Head of Multicultural Client Strategy

Our Mission

In our 2018 survey, investors reported capitalizing multicultural and women-owned businesses at 80% less than businesses overall, and our research shows this translates into roughly $4.4 trillion in missed opportunity. The Multicultural Innovation Lab, part of our Multicultural Client Strategy Group, is here to change that. Launched in 2017, and expanded to include founders in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2021, the MCIL promotes financial inclusion and provides founders of tech and tech-enabled startups with much-needed access to investors—along with the tools, resources and connections they need to grow and thrive. The Lab’s mission is nothing less than to transform the investing landscape around the world.

Key Stats

Interested in applying? While we’re not currently accepting applications, we will open applications for the U.S. and EMEA Winter 2023 cohorts in the fall of 2022. Please sign up below to be notified when applications are open.

About the Program

Curated Curriculum

The Lab customizes a curriculum for each startup, including finance & sales strategy, marketing & branding, and private sessions with industry experts.

Mentorship That Makes a Difference

Morgan Stanley pairs each startup with hand-picked mentors who provide advice and counsel to help each company grow and scale its business.

Powerful Networks

We introduce startups to our bankers, financial advisors, technology experts and others who can connect each company to their industry networks. We also give them access to potential clients and the investor ecosystem at large.

Showcase and Demo Day

Our five-month program culminates with a Demo Day during which all participants can present to a network of investors, potential business partners and customers, who could help take their companies to the next level.

 

HEAR ABOUT THE LAB

 

US Winter 2022 Cohort

BrandXR

A no-code Augmented Reality creation platform and award-winning XR creative studio.

View BrandXR Website

Cognitive Talent Solutions

An AI-powered Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) platform that helps companies visualize and analyze informal connections between employees by leveraging active and passive data sources, enabling them to foster informed decision-making.

View Cognitive Talent Solutions Website

Lab4U

An educational platform that transforms built-in smartphone sensors as lab equipment to improve STEM education with hands-on pre-designed experiments.

View Lab4U Website

Meytier

An AI-enabled, diversity-focused jobs platform that runs a blind screening and scoring model to offset bias and provides hands-on coaching services for candidates through the recruiting process.

View Meytier Website

Notice Ninja

An AI-powered cloud software company that streamlines processes, standardizes communications, and automates workflows for tax and compliance notice management.

View Notice Ninja Website

OPTT

A provider of comprehensive hybrid digital care plans augmented by AI for proactive triage and monitoring of patients to simplify the digital-first delivery of mental health services for care teams.

View OPTT Website

Sesame Solar

A manufacturer of mobile, turnkey solar and green hydrogen nanogrids pre-engineered with solutions inside, and pre-configured for set-up by one person in less than 15 minutes.

View Sesame Solar Website

TIDY App

An online platform for booking insured and bonded professional cleaners for a home, Airbnb, or office.

View TIDY App Website

Team Leadership

Selma Bueno, Managing Director, Head of Multicultural Client Strategy

As Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group, Selma Bueno oversees the Multicultural Innovation Lab, the Next Level Fund and other key initiatives that help strengthen Morgan Stanley’s commercial engagement and connectivity with the multicultural business community. Selma most recently served as Morgan Stanley’s Global Chief Administrative Officer of Investment Banking and has over 20 years of investment banking experience, advising companies across North America and Latin America.

Read Selma's story

Alice Vilma, Managing Director, Co-Head of the Multicultural Innovation Lab

Alice Vilma has been at Morgan Stanley for more than 15 years and has over 20 years of investment banking, capital markets, structured finance and investing experience, executing over $25 billion of securitization, structured finance and equity transactions. She graduated cum laude with a B.B.A. in Finance from the University of Miami and received her MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Read Alice's story

Sanghamitra Karra, Managing Director, EMEA Head of Multicultural Client Strategy

Sanghamitra Karra is currently the EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa) Head of Multicultural Client Strategy leading the efforts on establishing the Multicultural Innovation Lab in the region. Sanghamitra has been at Morgan Stanley for over 15 years and prior to this has held a variety of roles in Risk Management across Mumbai and London including most recently as Global Head of Market Risk Stress Testing. She is focussed on developing solutions to combat long-term systemic risks such as climate change and social inequity. She holds Masters degrees in Statistics from Indian Statistical Institute and MSc in Climate Change & Development from SOAS University of London. 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

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Background and Basics

 

What is the Multicultural Innovation Lab?

The Multicultural Innovation Lab is an intensive five-month accelerator designed to help further develop and scale startups, culminating in a Demo Day and showcase presentation to the investor community.

When and why was the Lab started?

Morgan Stanley launched the MCIL in 2017 in order to address inequities in funding of multicultural and women-led startups, which our research shows totals more than a trillion dollars.

Who leads the Lab team?

Our global team is led by Managing Director and Head of Multicultural Client Strategy Selma Bueno and Managing Director Alice Vilma. Together, they have over 40 years of equity syndicate, investment banking, capital markets and structured finance experience. Our EMEA team is led by Sanghamitra Karra. Karra has held a variety of roles in Stress Testing and Scenario Analysis, including for Investment Management and Market Risk Methodology in Mumbai and London.

Where is the Lab based?

The Lab is based in our office at 522 Fifth Avenue in New York City. In October 2021, Morgan Stanley announced an expansion of the Lab to Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). EMEA MCIL offices are based at 20 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4AD.

Contact Us

For additional questions about our New York-based program, please use this contact to email us and we’ll get back to you shortly. For questions about our London-based (EMEA) program, please email us here.

Application Details

 

Who is eligible?

The ideal candidate will meet the following criteria:

  • Is a multicultural or woman founder, co-founder, CTO or other C-suite member.
  • Has founded a technology or technology-enabled startup that falls within the Seed to Series B funding round stage.
  • Has launched product with demonstrated revenues that validate the initial business model and market opportunity.

Do I have to live in or relocate to NYC or London to participate? How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the onsite aspect of the program?

We believe that the value of our program lies in part with the relationships built among the cohort and with the broader Morgan Stanley community. In the past, this required all participants to be on site in our offices for the duration of the program. However, to ensure the health and safety of all members of our program and community, Lab activities and events are operating on a hybrid remote and in-person model. We will continue to operate in a hybrid model, as long as it is prudent and responsible to do so, with the intent to return to full in-person programming as soon as possible.

When are applications open?

While we’re not currently accepting applications, we will open applications for the Winter 2023 cohort in the fall of 2022. Please sign up below to be notified when applications are open.

Do I have to lead a FinTech company in order to apply?

No. We look for technology or technology-enabled startups across a variety of sectors.

When will I hear back about my application?

We aim to target contacting applicants with next steps within one month after their application is submitted.

I’ve applied to the MCIL before. Can I apply again?

We absolutely welcome repeat applications and encourage previous applicants to keep in touch.

I am interested in applying to the London-based program. What else do I need to know?

The EMEA MCIL program will launch with a first cohort of five companies led by women or ethnic-minority founders in late summer 2022.

Contact Us

For additional questions about our New York-based program, please use this contact to email us and we’ll get back to you shortly. For questions about our London-based (EMEA) program, please email us here.

What You Can Expect

Does Morgan Stanley invest financially in companies that participate in the Lab?

Yes. Morgan Stanley contributes $250,000 to each company participating in our New York-based program and £200,000 to each company participating in our London-based program in exchange for an equity stake.

What does the curriculum cover?

The curriculum is tailored to suit each individual cohort, but it generally includes such topics as branding your startup, developing your investor pitch, refining your value prop and devising effective finance and sales strategies. In addition, we offer participants the opportunity to meet with industry experts for one-on-one consultations.

What kind of mentorship will I receive from Morgan Stanley?

We pair each company with a Morgan Stanley mentor chosen specifically for their relevant expertise. Your mentor communicates with you regularly and can provide advice and counsel on company growth and scaling your business.

Will I be introduced to investors during my time at the Lab?

Morgan Stanley leverages its broad network of clients and investors on behalf of its Lab cohorts, making introductions and connections that aim to grow and scale each company’s business.

What is Demo Day?

Demo Day culminates the five-month Lab program, with each founder pitching to an audience of potential investors and clients.

Does the Lab team support its portfolio companies after the program is over?

Yes, we stay in contact with former participants and follow their successes, continuing to offer advice and support as needed.

Contact Us

For additional questions about our New York-based program, please use this contact to email us and we’ll get back to you shortly. For questions about our London-based (EMEA) program, please email us here.