BrandArena: Two African Startups, 21 Others Selected in Morgan Stanley’s 2023 Global Cohort of the Inclusive Ventures Lab

Thursday 14 September 2023

Two African Startups, 21 Others Selected in Morgan Stanley’s 2023 Global Cohort of the Inclusive Ventures Lab

Morgan Stanley has announced the 2023 global cohort of the Inclusive Ventures Lab, which will include 23 businesses from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), more than doubling the number of prior cohorts. The Lab provides a five-month in-house accelerator programme for minority founders of technology and tech-enabled firms in the post-seed to Series A investment round stage.

The shortlisted firms represent a diverse spectrum of revolutionary technologies in fields such as healthcare, sustainable solutions, customer service, supply chain, hiring, and cybersecurity. They were chosen from over 7,900 applicants, more than three times last year's pool. Companies in the cohort get a $250,000 investment from Morgan Stanley (£250,000 in EMEA), as well as a variety of mentorship opportunities and business-growth resources from Morgan Stanley's ecosystem of internal and external partners.

Two African startups – eBanqo (Nigeria) and Ridelink (Uganda) made the list.

eBanqo (Nigeria): Omnichannel Solutions Transforming Customer Engagement
eBanqo, based in Nigeria, is poised to change the way businesses connect with their customers. Their omnichannel platform provides a seamless and effective solution for customer engagement, bridging the gap between businesses and their customers. eBanqo's revolutionary approach strives to improve customer satisfaction and support, eventually driving business success.

Ridelink (Uganda): Pioneering Cross-Border Cargo Movement
Ridelink, based in Uganda, is solving a critical need in the African economic landscape: efficient cargo transportation. Ridelink uses technology to connect Ugandan small and medium-sized businesses with neighbouring nations, easing cross-border logistics and transportation. This novel method not only increases regional trade but also propels African business growth.

21 other startups selected in the 2023 global cohort are:
  • Ad Auris empowers marketing teams, publishers and content creators to repurpose written content into high-quality audio to reach an audience of listeners (Canada)
  • Automated Architecture provides the technological infrastructure for a distributed robotic micro-factory network producing sustainable timber housing (UK)
  • Bidrento offers an all-in-one solution for tenant experience and rental property management, helping to save time and money while also reducing CO2 emissions in real estate (Estonia)
  • ByFusion provides a zero-waste landfill diversion platform to transform non-recyclable plastic waste into reusable building materials (US)
  • Cult Mia is an online fashion marketplace for sustainable and ethical brands from around the world (UK)
  • DotLab develops breakthrough, actionable AI and ML technologies that lead to better health outcomes for women, starting with the diagnosis of endometriosis (US)
  • Encounter AI uses digital conversational ordering solutions to provide faster, friendlier and more efficient service to customers, restaurants and retailers (US)
  • FLUIX Inc. enterprise AI software saves critical infrastructure on energy costs by integrating and optimizing facility systems (US)
  • GigBridge is an online platform for construction companies to hire, onboard and pay their workforce all in one place (UK)
  • Health in Her HUE connects Black women and women of colour to culturally sensitive healthcare providers, health content and community support through a digital platform (US)
  • Inicio AI delivers a virtually guided affordability assessment to help organizations save contact centre costs while improving their end customer experience (UK)
  • MEDI Jobs is the first virtual recruiter for the healthcare industry, filling more than 55 types of positions at a rate five times faster than a human would (US)
  • Nopalera is a collection of bath and body products powered by Mexico’s nopal cactus – an ancient symbol of Mexican culture (US)
  • OKO offers affordable and inclusive crop insurance to farmers in emerging countries using satellite weather data and mobile payment technologies (Israel)
  • Oppos provides robust cybersecurity and compliance security solutions for businesses, safeguarding data confidentiality, integrity, and availability (Canada)
  • Partsimony enables organizations to build intelligent manufacturing supply chains that are more resilient and sustainable by unifying engineering and supply chain data (US)
  • serviceMob is an AI & ML-powered customer service analytics platform that helps businesses optimize operations and improve the customer experience (US)
  • Stak Mobility facilitates widespread urban electric vehicle adoption by merging space-saving vertical parking automation with fully integrated EV charging and a seamless mobile self-service experience (US)
  • Tall Poppy is a digital security company protecting employees and public-facing teams from online threats (US)
  • Twipes uses biotech

    to produce flushable, biodegradable wet wipes that break down in water in three hours and biodegrade in landfills in seven days (US)
  • Unfabled is a consumer health platform that delivers personalized solutions for women by matching them with health and wellness products (UK)
The Inclusive Ventures Lab is part of Morgan Stanley’s broader mission to promote a more equitable investment landscape. By investing $250,000 in each selected startup and offering mentorship opportunities, Morgan Stanley empowers underrepresented founders to navigate the challenges of scaling their businesses successfully. This initiative seeks to address market imbalances and create opportunities for overlooked entrepreneurs worldwide.

We are excited to see how these startups thrive and impact the world as the programme runs until February 2024. The journey will conclude with a global Demo Day, where participating companies will have the opportunity to present their inventions to potential investors, business partners, and customers.

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