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Tennis Great Serena Williams’ Growing Venture Fund Raises $111 Million; Invests In African Tech Startup

Tennis star Serena Williams has raised $111 million for her early-stage venture capital firm Serena Ventures, she told the DealBook newsletter.

The company manages a portfolio of over 60 angel investments, 13 of which are unicorns, and has invested in fintechs Propel, Cointracker, and edtech Masterclass, according to the blog.

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Serena Williams (Photo from https://www.serenaventures.com/)

Ex-J.P. Morgan executive Alison Rapaport, with Williams, heads up Serena Ventures, Reuters reported.

Serena Ventures invests in founders with diverse points of view.

“I’ve always been fascinated with technology, and I’ve always loved how it really shapes our lives,” said Williams, who has been investing for nine years. “When I met my husband…I was talking about investments.” Williams is married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Although Serena Ventures says it does not require that its founders be from historically underrepresented backgrounds, about three-quarters of its portfolio company founders are, The New York Times reported.

One business Serena Ventures have invested in is African Web3 startup Nestcoin, which recently raised $6.45 million in a pre-seed round.

Nestcoin, a Nigerian startup that plans to operate and invest in Web3 applications, was launched in November 2021 and planned to use the capital raised to educate, build and invest in web 3.0 applications.

Leading the funding round were venture capital firms Distributed Global and Alter Global.

Serena Ventures also participated in the funding round along with Alameda Research, A&T Capital, MSA Capital and 4DX Ventures.

Co-founded by Yele Bademosi and Taiwo Orilogbon, the startup plans to use the funds raised to facilitate the adoption of cryptocurrencies, according to a report by Forbes. Nestcoin will also use the capital raised to fund the building of a platform that allows content creators to earn, while educating the startups’ subscribers, Bitcoin.com reported.

Nestcoin already has launched a series of products, such as Breach, a crypto education media platform, and Metaverse Magna, a gaming guild that, according to the company, can help its gamers earn up to $1,000 monthly. 

Nestcoin’s Bademosi said his startup is coming at an opportune time in the crypto sector. “The first iteration of crypto products were trading products. The second iteration has been more around decentralized finance and non-custodial trading of financing activities,” Bademosi said at the announcement of the funding.

He added, “The current situation of crypto, and now more like applications that everyday people use and love, whether it is like consumer applications, finance apps, entertainment, gaming, but these applications now have the potential to reach millions of users across frontier markets. And that’s sort of what we are trying to do with Nestcoin.”

Read “‘Web3 Is Going to be Biggest Space for Growth’: Tennis champ and Financier Serena Williams Joins Blockchain Firm Sorare as a Board Adviser”

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