Next Level Ventures and credit union partners of Members Development Co. have launched a new collaborative venture capital fund for the development of financial services technology in the credit union industry. NLV will structure and manage the investments from the Curql Fund (pronounced “circle”) in fintech companies.

Curql — spelled that way to highlight the C and U, which represent “credit unions” — is named to represent a “holistic opportunity” to connect credit unions and emerging technology, said NLV partner Scott Hoekman.

“Credit unions want to be customers of innovative fintech companies, and bring in that new solution that can help them out with serving their members or their clients,” Hoekman said.

Dave Tucker, the former Workiva senior vice president of technology, is joining NLV as a partner this year. Tucker joined NLV as a senior adviser in 2019 on a part-time basis and has the experience needed to help develop Curql’s network, Hoekman said.

The Curql Fund is considering investment in a company already piloting financial products with MDC members. Curql will play a role introducing those startup companies to a wider audience of credit unions for piloting opportunities, he added.

NLV previously invested in Central Iowa fintech companies Dwolla and LenderClose, both of which serve the operational side of credit unions. Looking forward, more investment opportunity is available in startups that will extend the service area of credit unions.

“The mobile phone and the internet have created this huge ability for consumers to access capital, access banking solutions pretty much anywhere they are,” Hoekman said. “If you’re a credit union, you have a branch where a good chunk of your members are located. Having the internet and having mobile solutions potentially allow you to attract customers that are an hour away, or maybe 10 hours away.”

Members Development Co., which has about 70 member credit unions, projects its investment will reach $75 million among its membership. Managers aim to expand the fund to between $100 million and $150 million by summer.

Feb. 11: This story has been edited to fix incorrect references to Next Level Ventures. We apologize for the error.