Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures invests in banking startup

Chime automates consumer finances

Craig Schedler discusses Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures' investment approach.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm

Milwaukee-based Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures has invested an undisclosed amount in an $18 million series B round announced Wednesday by San Francisco mobile banking startup Chime.

Craig Schedler discusses Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures’ investment approach.

The round was led by Cathay Innovation. Craig Schedler, venture partner at Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, declined to comment on the deal. NM Future Ventures typically invests between $500,000 and $3 million in series A and B rounds.

“We were really excited to have such a venerable brand like Northwestern Mutual be an investor,” said Chris Britt, founder and chief executive officer of Chime. “I think it’s great validation for us as a company and we’re excited about new opportunities to partner with them.”

Chime is an app that allows users to avoid fees and automate their finances, including rounding up transactions to save the “change.” It launched in 2014, has raised a total of $36 million, and now has more than 500,000 bank accounts. With this new funding, Chime plans to fuel its growth and create new financial products.

“We’re not just a mobile app that gives you advice or helps to facilitate one part of your finances,” Britt said. “We offer full FDIC-insured checking and savings accounts and Visa debit cards. We’re the primary relationship for our customers.”

NM Future Ventures was established in January and it and its related divisions have publicly invested in six other companies: LearnVest, a New York-based personal finance software firm that Northwestern Mutual Capital invested in, and Northwestern Mutual Life ultimately acquired in 2015; Washington, D.C.-based intelligent savings account provider Rize Advisors LLC; New York-based financial services innovation investment and advisory firm Nyca Partners; New York-based online financial advisor Betterment LLC; San Francisco-based health care transparency provider Amino; and Austin, Texas-based remote customer onboarding and identity verification provider LiveOak Technologies.

Chime may have the opportunity to partner with LearnVest moving forward, Britt said.

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.