Morgan Stanley’s investment division started a new fund to invest in early-stage companies with diverse founders, winning initial backing from Microsoft Corp., Walmart Inc. and Hearst Corp. for the venture.
“Morgan Stanley is not only leveraging our capital, but growing it into a more established fund that will help propel the efforts and increase the pipeline of multicultural and women entrepreneurs,” said Alice Vilma, co-portfolio manager of the new Next Level Fund. “We as well as other institutions are finding ways to level the playing field.”
Corporations have been seeking ways to deploy funds toward environmental, social and governance investments as social issues ratchet up the agenda for Wall Street and its clients. Many have found it challenging to figure out how to invest in small firms that are run by women or minorities, and have tasked their bankers to help scout those opportunities.