Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley Selects 5 Startup Companies for Innovation Lab Targeting Multicultural and Women Founders

Aug 2, 2017

Startups include AptDeco, GitLinks, Kairos, Landit and Trigger Finance innovating in e-commerce, software development, facial recognition, career development and fintech, respectively

New York —

Morgan Stanley will use its global reach and capital, content and connections to spur growth 

Morgan Stanley today announced the launch of the Multicultural Innovation Lab, an accelerator program for technology and technology-enabled start-ups in the post‐seed to Series A funding rounds. The program targets companies with a multicultural or woman founder, co‐founder or CTO who have the potential to develop innovations that could disrupt sectors. 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 Lab is designed to help drive positive economic outcomes for entrepreneurs of color and women by providing content, visibility, technical support and connectivity with important stakeholders who might be essential in accelerating the growth of their businesses.

“The Multicultural Innovation Lab presents a unique opportunity for talented and disruptive start-ups led by multicultural and women entrepreneurs to increase their visibility and gain access to the capital and collaborations needed to achieve commercial success,” said Carla A. Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, and Head of the Multicultural Client Strategy Group, Morgan Stanley. “By specifically catering to top high growth multicultural entrepreneurs, The Lab addresses the market inefficiency to accelerate their business and maximize economic outcomes.”

The companies will be fully immersed in the program working from Morgan Stanley’s global headquarters in Times Square, New York, and receive value‐add content, along with the fundamental and technical support necessary to accelerate growth. The four‐month program began in July and will run through the fall, culminating in an entrepreneurs’ symposium in mid-November that will expose companies to potential investors through showcase format presentations.

Designed to bring best in class content and connectivity for the entrepreneurs, the Multicultural Innovation Lab has enlisted William Crowder, formerly head of Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund and now Founding Partner at 42 Venture Partners, as its Entrepreneur-In-Residence. Crowder will work closely with both the entrepreneurs and the Multicultural Client Strategy team throughout the duration of the lab as a company insider to help address challenges that will increase and enhance performance and progress. Additionally, with input from other accelerators such as Newark Venture Partners and Techstars, entrepreneurs in the lab will have unparalleled access to subject matter experts, practitioners and investors all committed to their success.

“With less than 3% of venture capital dollars going to multicultural entrepreneurs, we will use Morgan Stanley’s global reach to provide the capital, content and connections needed to help accelerate the growth of these exciting companies and help bridge that funding gap,” said Alice Vilma, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley.

The companies that have been selected for the fall 2017 cohort are below:

  • AptDeco connects buyers and sellers of quality preowned furniture via its peer-to-peer online platform, offering a complete end-to-end service including coordinated pick up and delivery.
  • GitLinks protects the integrity of open source in application development by using its automated software to monitor and oversee security, updates and legal compliance for enterprises.
  • Kairos leverages artificial intelligence to provide integrated facial recognition that enables companies to transform brand experiences, increase discoverability and secure their businesses.
  • Landit is a technology platform designed to increase the success and engagement of women in the workplace, by creating a personalized playbook that enables companies to attract, develop, and retain high-potential diverse talent.
  • Trigger Finance allows the DIY Investor to set “If-Then” statements that can turn any financial or world event into an action on their portfolio using their proprietary rules-based investing platform.

Learn more about the Morgan Stanley Multicultural Innovation Lab here.  

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 42 countries, the Firm's employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit 

Media Relations: Sarah Higgins, 212.296.3648

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