CMFG Ventures, the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group, released a new report detailing the impact of the Discovery Fund, which was created to invest in early-stage companies with diverse founding teams building solutions for financial inclusion.
The Discovery Fund builds on the established track record of CMFG Ventures, which has made over $300 million worth of investments in 40 companies over the past six years.1 Launched in 2021, the Fund has invested $6.75 million in 17 companies and is on track to invest $15 million in its first three years. Those investments support companies led by women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) or LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) founders to help reduce the inequity in venture capital.
Venture capital-backed startups are significantly male (89.3%) and white (71.6%). Despite the increase in venture capital funding over the past few years, women and people of color continue to be at a disadvantage. The Discovery Fund, however, is closing the equity gap and empowering underrepresented founders. Of the Discovery Fund’s investments to-date, 36% were companies founded by women (compared to 2% in the industry), and 57% were BIPOC founders (compared to 2% in the industry).
“Our mission is to find companies that are making products and services that are actually improving the lives and financial health of everyday Americans, particularly low and moderate-income consumers and those who have been underserved by the traditional financial system,” said Elizabeth McCluskey, Director of the Discovery Fund.
The report also includes case studies from companies in the Discovery Fund’s portfolio. Sam Ulloa, founder and CEO, said, “At Listo!, we believe in financial inclusion, the civil rights movement of our generation, the path to financial prosperity and the path to a fair and equitable America. We partner with credit unions, financial institutions and insurance carriers to provide more inclusive access to affordable financial services for Latinx and marginalized communities.”
To read the full report, visit cmfgventures.com/discovery-fund.
About CMFG Ventures
CMFG Ventures, LLC is the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group. CMFG Ventures houses two investment funds, one focused on strategic investments and partnerships to connect fintechs with credit unions and financial institutions, and one focused on early-stage investments in fintechs with diverse founding teams. Built on the principle of “people helping people,” CUNA Mutual Group is a financially strong insurance, investment and financial services company that believes a brighter financial future should be accessible to everyone. Through our company culture, community engagement, and products and solutions, we are working to create a more equitable financial system that helps to improve the lives of those we serve and our society. For more information, visit cunamutual.com.
Unless otherwise indicated, all data in this report is sourced from CMFG Ventures Discovery Fund Impact Report, February 14, 2023.
1CMFG Ventures, Internal data, 2023
CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates.