Morgan Stanley

Five Innovative Women-led Startups Selected to Participate in Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab in EMEA and Receive a £1 Million Investment

Sep 6, 2022

  • The early-stage companies are developing key solutions in a broad range of areas such as climate change, education, media/marketing and wellness
  • The inaugural EMEA Multicultural Innovation Lab expands on the US programme, whose 59 portfolio companies have raised more than $150M in funding since their participation in the five-month programme

London - 

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) today announced that five start-ups led by women and ethnic minority founders, whose businesses range from collecting energy and carbon data to education technology, have been selected to participate in the inaugural Multicultural Innovation Lab (MCIL) cohort in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Running from September 2022 to February 2023, the EMEA programme will see the five women CEOs – the majority of whom are ethnically diverse – and their C-suite colleagues take their companies through a customised, five-month experience designed to accelerate their growth and development. Chosen from over 1,200 applications, these leaders will benefit from the close support of Morgan Stanley’s global ecosystem of internal and external partners, which will provide a variety of mentorship opportunities and business-growth resources.

Through the Lab, Morgan Stanley is also making an aggregate £1 million investment in these high-growth firms, all of which are in the pre-Series A stage.

Clare Woodman, Head of EMEA at Morgan Stanley commented: “We are delighted to introduce our first cohort, comprised of five highly innovative, women and ethnically diverse-led start-ups. Each, through the Multicultural Innovation Lab, will gain access to capital, content and connections enabling them to accelerate the growth of their businesses.”

MCIL was first launched in the US in 2017 to help close a persistent funding gap faced by women and ethnic minority entrepreneurs. The Lab’s mission is to create a more inclusive investment landscape by not only providing capital, but by also leveraging Morgan Stanley’s expertise and networks to support women and diverse founders on their growth journeys.

“I’m particularly pleased that the CEOs in our first cohort are all women, the majority of whom are ethnically diverse,” said Sanghamitra Karra, Managing Director and EMEA Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group. “The five were selected on the merits of their innovative offerings and significant investment potential. Their intersectional diversity across race and gender was seen as a key factor driving greater innovation and resilience potential.”

The five companies that have been selected for the inaugural EMEA MCIL cohort include the following:

  • AMAKA Studio is a digital media platform connecting a global community of women sharing Pan-African stories
  • imagi is an education tech company leveraging proprietary coding education tools to equip girls with essential technology skills and confidence
  • Kami is an AI-powered, family support platform providing personalised access to a wide range of wellness consultants, as well as an expertly curated and comprehensive range of guides, articles, and tips
  • Perse is a single data technology platform leveraging energy and carbon data from all meters in Britain to report and optimise the energy and carbon footprint for individuals, households and businesses
  • Wearisma is a global enterprise SaaS influencer analytics platform helping large-scale companies to optimise marketing spend and to achieve communication objectives

The first cohort begins on 6th September operating in a hybrid environment, using online video platforms to facilitate the Lab curriculum, and convening in-person events to enhance connectivity and to foster community. The entrepreneurs receive support from a dedicated Morgan Stanley team delivering tailored experiences to help each company grow. The programme will culminate in a Demo Day, when the five participating companies will present to potential investors.

About the Multicultural Innovation Lab

The Multicultural Innovation Lab (MCIL) is an intensive five-month accelerator designed to

help further develop and scale startups, culminating in a showcase presentation and Demo Day to the investor community. Morgan Stanley launched the MCIL in 2017 in order to address inequities in funding of ethnically diverse and women-led startups, which our research shows equals over four trillion dollars in unrealised returns.

The team is led by London-based Sanghamitra Karra, Managing Director and EMEA Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group, and New York-based Selma Bueno, Managing Director and Global Head of Multicultural Client Strategy. Together, they have over 35 years of investment banking and risk management experience.

About Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in 41 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit

Media Relations Contact: Michael Wang tel. +44 20 7425 2094