CMFG Ventures, the venture capital arm of CUNA Mutual Group (a California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues affiliate), 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 www.cmfgventures.com/discovery-fund.