At Gray Matters Capital (GMC), we believe that the most worthwhile strategy is to invest in people and high-impact ideas. Our vision is to create an empowered and purposeful life for 100 million women globally by 2036. Over the last ten years, GMC has devoted $160 million USD into microfinance and education initiatives, primarily in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. GMC coLABS was launched in early 2017 to invest in innovative and scalable enterprises that are tackling critical issues facing women and girls around the world. coLABS supports entrepreneurs of early stage companies with seed investment capital, rapid prototyping, and strategic advisor support.
At coLABS our investment approach is built upon two beliefs:
- Entrepreneurs innovate best when early-stage investment capital is constrained, forcing the enterprise to focus on proof-of-concept and market validation, rather than growing overhead and big expenditures. For this reason, coLABS provides investment capital between $50,000 - $250,000 USD for entrepreneurs to pilot and validate their ventures in the marketplace.
- Investors and early-stage companies are equally committed to the success of a venture when an investment is structured on terms of revenue-sharing.
We know capital alone isn't a realistic formula for a successful, early-stage social venture. In addition to investment capital, we connect entrepreneurs to seasoned advisors who can provide support, advice, and sometimes tough love. We provide ongoing engagement and feedback to help entrepreneurs recognize necessary pivots in their model, rapidly prototype and test their assumptions, and iterate toward success.
We look for entrepreneurs and companies that are:
- Providing meaningful impact to women and girls: We are sector-agnostic and believe in supporting ventures in any geographies where there is a challenging need and opportunity for scaling impact for underserved women.
- Self-sustaining: We are seeking to invest in ventures that have a profitable and sustainable business model that can deliver meaningful impact to their target market.
- Innovative and disruptive: We prioritize ideas that push boundaries--creating a new asset class, opening a new market, or finding a new way to use an old business model.
- Investment-ready and able to commercially launch: We define investment-readiness as an entrepreneur who already has a clear blueprint for her/his business, how it will operate, understands the needs of the customer, and is ready to test and refine the business model in the market.
- Scalable: We look for models and ventures that have the potential to reach exponential numbers of women within 3-5 years of launch.
WE DO NOT FUND
- Fully donor-dependent ventures
- Organizations that require ongoing grant funding to sustain operations
- Companies where impacting women/girls isn't central to their core DNA
- Place-based or brick-and-mortar models that lack the ability to scale widely and rapidly
- We do not offer debt/loan capital or equity investments at this time.
- Research and development costs
- Ventures that promote a religious doctrine