CUNA Mutual Group’s Venture Capital Arm Launches Fund to Support Minority-Owned Startups
Strategic Link partner, CUNA Mutual Group announced that its venture capital arm, CMFG Ventures, has launched the CMFG Ventures Discovery Fund, which will invest in early-stage companies with diverse founding teams targeting the financial technology industry.
The Discovery Fund will build upon the established track record of CMFG Ventures, which has made over $200 million worth of investments in 28 companies over the last five years, primarily focusing on Series A and B rounds of funding. Several of CMFG Ventures’ investments have now achieved “unicorn” status (meaning a valuation of $1 billion or more).
“At CMFG Ventures, we’re well aware of the barriers to entry that exist for people of color and women entrepreneurs in gaining access to venture capital. Through the launch of our Discovery Fund, we believe we can build a more diverse portfolio of companies to support now and invest in further as they grow,” said Brian Kaas, President and Managing Director of CMFG Ventures and SVP of Corporate Development at CUNA Mutual Group.
“We also see a great opportunity to provide resources to help these young companies develop by getting in front of credit unions and credit union customers,” he continued. “Credit unions are mission-based, serving middle market communities that are too often overlooked by other financial services providers.”
The Discovery Fund will launch with an initial commitment of $15 million over three years. It will be managed by Elizabeth McCluskey, who joined CMFG Ventures from Impact Engine, a women-owned and led venture capital and private equity firm focused on driving positive impact in economic opportunity, health equity, and environmental sustainability.
The Discovery Fund has closed three investments to date, with a steady pipeline expected for the rest of 2021 and beyond. Investments closed to date include:
- Home Lending Pal, an AI-powered mortgage advisor and blockchain-based marketplace built to address mortgage inefficiencies and biases.
- Line, a platform through which consumers can access up to $1,000 for essentials or emergencies with no interest or income restrictions.
- Pulsate, a marketing communications platform that enables financial institutions to send personalized messages to members, driving engagement, sales and loyalty.