Discovery Fund targets early-stage startups founded by people of color, women

CUNA Mutual Group announced on Wednesday that its venture capital arm, CMFG Ventures, has launched the CMFG Ventures Discovery Fund, which intends to invest $15 million in early-stage companies with diverse founding teams targeting the financial technology industry over the next three years.

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 past five years, primarily focusing on series A and B rounds of funding. Several of CMFG Ventures’ investments have 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/ 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. Credit unions are mission-based, serving middle market communities that are too often overlooked by other financial services providers,” Kaas added.     

The fund 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.       

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