Morgan Stanley Investment Management (MSIM) closed Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund, L.P., at $50m.
Investors in the strategy include the inaugural corporate partners Hearst, Microsoft and Walmart as well as Altria, Ten Figures Ventures and Phalanx Impact Partners.
Next Level, part of MSIM’s $200 billion alternative business, builds upon the expertise of the Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Lab and HearstLab to invest in primarily early-stage technology and technology-enabled companies with underrepresented members as part of the founding team.
Target sectors include:
- financial technology,
- consumer products, and
- media and entertainment.
In addition to capital, each portfolio company can access to the global resources and capabilities of the corporate partners invested in the vehicle.
At close, the fund had deployed a quarter of the capital across nine companies including HourWork, Bodily, Tomo, Encantos, oak9, AptDeco, PowerToFly, Cohesion, and NVISIONx.
Commenting on the fundraise, Alice Vilma, Co-Portfolio Manager, Morgan Stanley Next Level Fund, said: “There is an immense opportunity to provide overlooked entrepreneurs with much-needed capital and resources to help them succeed. With the support of our corporate partners, we are committed to driving a more equitable funding landscape for promising startups.”
David N. Miller, Managing Director and Head of Morgan Stanley Private Credit & Equity, added: “We are pleased to increase access to capital for underrepresented founders in our target sectors, and we are proud to partner with like-minded companies that share our commitment to closing the early-stage funding gap. In addition to providing capital, our differentiated investment approach alongside our fund partners’ strategic expertise seeks to improve financial and operational outcomes for our portfolio companies.”
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS)’s Morgan Stanley Investment Management, together with its investment advisory affiliates, has more than 1,300 investment professionals around the world and $1.4 trillion in assets under management or supervision as of September 30, 2023.