Venture Capital: Morgan Stanley’s Next Level Fund Raises $50M To Level The Field For Underrepresented Founders

“There is an immense opportunity to provide overlooked entrepreneurs with much-needed capital and resources to help them succeed.” – Alice Vilma, Co-Portfolio Manager, Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund

Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) has successfully closed its Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund, L.P. at the targeted $50 million in capital commitments. This fund, created in collaboration with Hearst, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and Walmart (NYSE: WMT), is part of MSIM’s $200 billion alternative business. The strategic investors include corporate partners such as Hearst, Microsoft, Walmart, Altria (NYSE: MO), Ten Figures Ventures, and Phalanx Impact Partners.

Next Level aims to invest in early-stage technology and technology-enabled companies, particularly those with underrepresented founders. The fund draws on the expertise of the Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Lab and HearstLab. Target sectors include technology, consumer/retail, financial technology, healthcare, consumer products, and media and entertainment.

The fund has already deployed a quarter of its capital across nine companies, many of which were founded by underrepresented groups. Examples include HourWork, a SaaS platform transforming hourly work in the gig economy, and Bodily, a company providing information and products to support women from pregnancy to postpartum.

Alice Vilma, Co-Portfolio Manager of Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund, said the fund was committed to creating a more equitable funding environment for startups.

David N. Miller, Managing Director and Head of Morgan Stanley Private Credit & Equity, said the fund’s differentiated investment approach, coupled with the strategic expertise of its partners, aims to enhance financial and operational outcomes for portfolio companies.

Related Story:  Riverwood Capital Raises $1.8B For High-Technology Investing Push

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

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