Gray Matters Capital’s coLABS Announces First Round of Gender Lens Investments

Monday, June 12, 2017

Press release:

Gray Matters Capital (GMC) is excited to announce the first round of investments from its newest portfolio coLABS, which invests in innovative and scalable pilots that are tackling critical issues facing women and girls around the world. Launched at the beginning of this year, coLABS supports entrepreneurs of early-stage ventures with seed investment capital, rapid prototyping, and advisor support.

This first round of investments reflect the portfolio’s varied interests—three different sectors spanning three different continents. “We are extremely proud to support these diverse pilots as they each use innovative solutions to address challenges faced by women,” said Jennifer Soltis, co-lead of the new portfolio. “The entrepreneurs in this group are incredibly talented, and we are thrilled to work with them as they grow their businesses.”

African Renewable Energy (ARED) uses a micro-franchise model that focuses on women and disabled individuals to provide Wi-Fi, mobile phone charging services, and intranet content via solar-powered kiosks. ARED launched in January 2013 in Rwanda and is using coLABS funding for its first international expansion into Uganda to market test its newest kiosk model, the Shiriki Hub.

doctHERs is a Pakistani digital health and telemedicine company that connects a network of home-based female doctors—who are unable to access the workplace—to healthcare consumers—who lack access to quality, affordable healthcare–via technology. In February 2017, doctHERs pivoted after 18 months of a community-based clinical model to focus on underserved stakeholders in corporate value chains to achieve more scale and financial sustainability. doctHERs is using coLABS funding to test this new corporate model. On the supply side, it is reintegrating women healthcare professionals into the workforce. On the demand side, it engaging workers and families within corporate value chains with a special focus on health and wellness for women and girls.

IssueVoter is a non-partisan platform that gives its users a voice in Washington by making civic engagement accessible, efficient, and impactful. IssueVoter keeps users informed year-round by alerting them before Congress votes on key issues that they care about, sending their opinions directly to representatives with one click, and holding politicians accountable by tracking how they vote so that users can make informed decisions at election time. IssueVoter is passionate about promoting civic engagement among underrepresented women and is using coLABS funding to enhance their platform offerings, reach more citizens, and pilot a corporate engagement model.

Further information on the current portfolio and its entrepreneurs, as well as profiles of strategic advisors who are recruited to support enterprise development, is available on the coLABS website.
The coLABS investment cycle occurs approximately every three months and accepts applications on its website from ambitious entrepreneurs who are passionate about changing the lives of women and girls through disruptive innovation.

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)

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