CUNA Mutual Group has formed a venture capital arm, CMFG Ventures, the Madison credit union insurer said Wednesday, and one of its first investments is in ForeverCar, a Chicago startup with an online marketplace to compare extended service auto protection plans.
CMFG Ventures was established in February but only disclosed its existence this week with the announcement that it is leading an investment in ForeverCar.
According to ForeverCar’s website, the venture round is for $10 million. The website also says CUNA Mutual has a “strategic partnership” with ForeverCar, and a “co-branded website and marketing platform” released this month. Other investors in the round include KDWC Ventures and SAP Fieldglass founder Jai Shekhawat, also of Chicago.
It’s not the first investment for CMFG Ventures. The company said it also has put funds into SpringboardAuto.com, an auto loan platform based in Irvine, California; Cumulus Funding, Chicago, a loan firm with customized payment plans; and SmartAsset, a New York-based financial information website.
“We look to partner with companies that help us provide simple and accessible financial services and insurance products to credit unions and their members,” Brian Kaas, managing director of CMFG Ventures, said in a news release. “Our investments will directly infuse new alternatives to help the next generation of credit unions and consumers grow and secure their financial future.”
CMFG Ventures says it focuses on banking, financial services and insurance technology startups, with investments generally ranging from $1 million to $5 million.
“Our investments (so far) have been on the higher end of that scale,” Kaas said in an interview. He said $20 million to $25 million has been allocated to date.
Kaas said CMFG Ventures is a subsidiary of and is funded by CUNA Mutual. He said the amount invested may vary from year to year, but the target is around $25 million a year.
“When we see investment opportunities that are a good strategic fit, that’s when we make the investment,” he said.
Kaas said partnerships are being established with ForeverCar and SpringboardAuto so their services can be extended to credit unions and their members.
“We’re able to introduce these technologies into the credit union system,” he said.
CUNA Mutual, founded in 1935, has more than 3,600 employees worldwide, including about 1,900 at its Madison headquarters, 5910 Mineral Point Road. It provides insurance and financial services to credit unions and their members.