20 Women Founders Who Have Raised More Than $1M

Mar 24, 2023

These alums of our in-house startup accelerator for underrepresented founders have all marked a major milestone as women entrepreneurs.

Key Takeaways

  • Startups launched by all-women teams raised 1.9% of all VC funds in 2022, a drop from 2021.1
  • The Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Lab, a startup accelerator which helps underrespresented founders gain access to capital, aims to help close that gap.
  • This year, the Lab celebrates 20 women alums of the program who have raised more than $1M, a milestone achieved by fewer than 2,500 women in the U.S.

Last year, U.S. startups with all-women teams received 1.9% of the approximately $238.3 billion in venture capital allocated, a drop from the previous year1, despite the fact that female-founded companies continue to outperform the broader market when it comes to the median time it takes to exit.2 Meanwhile, in Europe, funding to women-only teams dropped from 3% in 2018 to 1% in 2022.3


Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Lab (the Lab) is striving to change that. Since its inception in 2017, our in-house startup accelerator—which provides access to capital, curated content and powerful networks to early-stage technology and technology-enabled companies led by underrepresented founders in the U.S. and Europe, the Middle East and Africa—has had 20 women alums raise $1 million or more in venture capital. Most recently, that honor has gone to Mandy Price, Founder and CEO of Kanarys, who has raised over $10M, a milestone only 20 Black women in the U.S. like her have passed (including Lab alums, Elise Smith, Founder and CEO of Praxis Labs, Tanya Van Court, Founder and  CEO of Goalsetter, Lisa Skeete Tatum, Co-Founder and CEO of Landit and Reham Fagiri, Co-Founder and CEO of AptDeco).


In fact, raising $1M in capital is an achievement reached by only about 2,300 women total in this country as of 20195—and only 289 Black and Latina women as of February of last year6. Here’s a bit more about a few of the remarkable Lab alums who have done so, along with some stats on their companies.

2022 Cohort

  1. -
    Jenny Tsai, Founder and CEO

    Company: WeArisma

    Elevator pitch: We are a global enterprise SaaS influencer analytics platform helping large-scale companies to optimize marketing spend and to achieve communication objectives.

    Funding raised to date: £3.5

  2. -
    Ashleigh Wilson*, Founder and CEO, and Andrea Arceneuax, Co-Founder and CEO

    Company: AuditMate

    Elevator pitch: We are a provider of SaaS-driven vertical transportation maintenance and contract management services. The solution helps property managers with contract analysis, maintenance completion reporting, compliance management and more

    Funding raised to date: $6.5M


The Lab truly changed the trajectory of my company. The staff, mentors and advisors coached me, provided resources, and encouraged me when I needed it.

2021 Cohort

  1. Barbara Jones, Founder and CEO

    Company: Lillii RNB
    Elevator pitch: We are a boutique IT consultancy whose signature software product enables retailers to seamlessly integrate their point-of-sale systems with return management applications, saving both time and money. 
    Funding raised to date: $4M

  2. Mandy Price, Co-Founder and CEO

    Company: Kanarys
    Elevator pitch. We offer a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) focused SaaS platform that delivers companies clear metrics to diagnose, prioritize and optimize DEI efforts
    Funding raised to date: $10M+

  3. Tiffanie Stanard, Founder and CEO

    Company: Stimulus

    Elevator pitch: We are a relationship intelligence SaaS platform that uses data & analytics to simplify how companies make purchasing decisions by offering vendor search, evaluation, selection & management tools.

    Funding raised to date: $2.75M

  4. Dana Weeks, Co-Founder and CEO

    Company: MedTrans Go
    Elevator pitch. We provide a tech-enabled patient optimization platform that aims to reduce medical appointment cancellations by providing patients access to medical transportation, interpretation services, Rx delivery and telemedicine services.
    Funding raised to date: $5.3M

When we started at the Lab, we were in three states: Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. And today, we've grown our transportation network to 14 states.

2019 and 2020 Cohorts

  1. Erica Plybeah Hemphill, Founder and CEO

    Company: MedHaul

    Elevator pitch: We are a web-based marketplace for health-care providers to book personalized non-emergency medical transportation for patients, based on their special needs.

    Funding raised to date: $2.5M

  2. Jasmine Shells, Co-Founder and CEO, and Denise Umubyeyi, Co-Founder

    Company: Five to Nine

    Elevator pitch: We are a platform for human-resource teams to improve workplace connectivity and promote inclusion, as well as manage and measure real-time employee feedback on culture-building opportunities.

    Funding raised to date: $4.25M

  3. Elise Smith, Co-Founder and CEO, and Heather Shen, Co-Founder and CPO

    Company: Praxis Labs
    Elevator pitch. We are a software-as-a-service company that develops virtual-reality-based diversity and inclusion training modules for the workplace.
    Funding raised to date: $18.7M

  4. B.J. Wiley Williams, Founder and CEO


    Elevator pitch: We are a wellness rewards platform that allows companies to reward and incentivize customers and employees at scale. 

    Funding raised to date: $2.5M

Raising money is a much longer journey than a week or two, at least for most Black entrepreneurs.

2018 Cohort

  1. SaLisa Berrien, Founder and CEO

    Company: COI Energy
    Elevator pitch. We offer an integrated artificial intelligence platform for electric utilities to eliminate energy waste, save on energy costs and protect the environment.
    Funding raised to date: $3.1M

  2. Lora Ivanova, Co-Founder and CEO, and Ursula Hessenflow-Cruz*, Co-Founder

    Company: myLAB Box
    Elevator pitch. We provide a direct-to-consumer platform for at-home health testing and treatment, delivering lab screenings and consultations with unprecedented convenience and privacy at a competitive price.
    Funding raised to date: $2.6M 


  3. Tanya Van Court, Founder and CEO

    Company: Goalsetter
    Elevator pitch. We offer a goal-based gifting and savings platform for children that is funded by the children, their parents, and other friends and family, allowing kids to save for their own short- and long-term goals.
    Funding raised to date: $20M

Our concept, which faced so much doubt and even ridicule at the start, is now getting established as the new standard of care. This gives me a lot of faith as an entrepreneur to trust my gut and not shy away from challenges.

2017 Cohort

  1. Reham Fagiri, Co-Founder and CEO

    Company: AptDeco

    Elevator pitch: We connect buyers and sellers of quality pre-owned furniture via its peer-to-peer online platform, offering a complete end-to-end service including coordinated pick-up and delivery.

    Funding raised to date: $17.1M

  2. Lisa Skeete Tatum, Co-Founder and CEO*, and Sheila Marcelo, Co-Founder

    Company: Landit

    Elevator pitch: We provide a a two-pronged approach to increase the success of, and engagement with, women in the workplace, delivering personalized, application-based advice at the individual and enterprise level.

    Funding raised to date: $19M



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