Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. said Thursday it has established a $50 million venture fund to invest in start-up companies that are developing new financial technology and other innovations the company could offer to clients.
Investments from the new Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures Fund — ranging between $500,000 and $3 million each — will develop tools to help accelerate digital technology and “create value for the company’s clients,” Northwestern Mutual said. The plan is to invest the $50 million over the next five or six years.
The company said the fund will focus on four priority investment areas: consumers’ changing preferences, “reimagining” the client experience, the digital health revolution and transformational analytics and technologies.
Rebecca Porter, vice president of corporate strategy and chairperson of the investment committee for Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, said technology would deepen the relationships clients already have with their Northwestern Mutual financial representatives.
“Digital capabilities can make that easy and seamless and complementary to the relationship they have with their financial representative,” Porter said. “So if they’re thinking about financial decisions – a mortgage, a new car, their kids’ college – they may be able to sit in their pajamas and have that information at their fingertips to be able to make it easier to make those financial decisions and remain confident those decisions are keeping them on the right path.”
The new Future Ventures Fund isn’t Northwestern Mutual’s first major commitment to technology. In 2015, the company acquired the online financial planning firm LearnVest Inc. Northwestern Mutual then used the know-how of LearnVest employees to develop a new online financial planning platform tailored to its clients.
“We have already seen substantial benefits through LearnVest and other investments, and our goal is to continue tapping into innovators that share our passion for helping people through innovation,” Porter said.