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 pilots that are tackling critical issues facing women and girls around the world. coLABS supports entrepreneurs of early stage pilots with seed investment capital, rapid prototyping, and 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 $10,000 - $100,000 USD for entrepreneurs to test and pilot their ideas in the marketplace.
- Investors and early-stage ventures in a pilot stage are equally committed to the success of a pilot 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 ventures that are:
- Providing meaningful impact to women and girls: We are sector-agnostic and believe in supporting pilots 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 create a new asset class, open a new market, or find a new way to use an old business model.
- Investment-ready and able to rapidly prototype: 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. We fund pilots that can be tested within a 12-month period.
- Scalable: We look for models and ventures that have the potential to reach exponential numbers of women.
WE DO NOT FUND
- Fully donor-dependent ventures
- Pilots that require ongoing grant funding to sustain operations
- A lack of steadfast commitment to serving women/girls
- Place-based ideas that lack the ability to scale
- Envision a limited social impact.
- We do not offer debt/loan capital.
- Research and development costs
- Ventures that promote a religious doctrine