In the latest episode of “22 Minutes in Lending,” host Vince Passione welcomes Nick Evens, the President and CEO of Curql Collective. As the head of this groundbreaking Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO), Nick shares insights into the company’s mission to help credit unions and fintechs collaborate. In this blog, we’ll explore key points from the interview and shed light on Curql’s distinctive structure and strategic approach.

Curql Collective emerged from a project at Members Development Company (MDC) with a vision of creating an investment fund inside the credit union ecosystem. Nick Evens, having a background in successful FinTech investing, was a crucial figure in the project’s development.

It operates through three key entities: Curql Fund One, Curql Fund Two, and Curql Collective. Nick explained that the funds serve three constituencies: investors, FinTechs, and credit unions.

Regulatory Modernization and Risk Mitigation

One notable aspect of its strategy is the focus on regulatory modernization. Despite concerns about the risks associated with FinTech investments, Nick highlights their commitment to de-risking the process for credit unions. Curql aims to be the eyes and ears for credit unions, providing expertise in due diligence and negotiation. By assuming this role, Curql addresses the concerns related to FinTech investments and ensures that credit unions are well-informed and equipped to engage in these collaborations. This approach safeguards against potential risks and provides a successful integration.

Swim Lanes and Strategic Investments

Curql’s strategic investment approach extends to identifying specific “swim lanes” within the credit union tech stack. These delineated areas encompass crucial facets such as lending, cybersecurity, fraud prevention, and marketing. By categorizing these distinct segments, Curql establishes a strategic framework that aligns with the diverse needs and challenges credit unions face. The company’s investment strategy strategically spans these swim lanes, ensuring a well-rounded portfolio. Underscoring Curql’s commitment to diversification is a conscious effort to avoid duplicating investments within similar sectors, promoting a balanced and varied portfolio.

Maintaining Influence in Boardrooms

Curql’s unique strength derives from its position as a strategic investor, underscoring its amplified influence in the boardroom. In contrast to traditional investors who primarily focus on financial returns, Curql’s strategic stance extends beyond mere capital injection. By representing a consortium of 68 credit unions, they bring a collective, authoritative voice to crucial discussions. Curql can articulate the specific needs and perspectives of credit unions while aligning the investment strategy with the broader goals of its credit union partners, ensuring credit unions’ interests are acknowledged and play a pivotal role in shaping the strategic direction of the invested companies.

Listen to the full episode here.