Serena Williams has been playing tennis professionally for 27 years, having made her debut in 1995, and now the 40-year-old champ is looking forward to a career off the court. She’s already made headway with her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion started Serena Ventures to increase diversity in the venture capital space.The early-stage venture capital firm raised an inaugural fund of $111 million that will invest in founders with diverse points of view. Its investment portfolio of more than 60 companies includes SendWave, MasterClass, Daily Harvest and Zigazoo.
Williams co-founded Serena Ventures with Alison Rapaport Stillman in 2014, but the fund has been very active in adding to its portfolio in the last two years. And Williams seems to be just getting started.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion and mother — daughter, Olympia, is four — said she sees herself concentrating on being an inventor in her second professional life.
Promoting Financial Independence
“I am a huge proponent of financial independence and education, and accessibility,” Williams told People magazine. “So those things are really important for me to teach my daughter and also important for me to raise awareness.”
She’s already juggling being a venture capitalist and a tennis GOAT.
“Now, when I prepare for a tournament, I practice in the morning, I take VC calls in the afternoon, and then I spend time with Olympia, and that didn’t happen five years ago,” the tennis superstar said.
Serena Ventures has a focus on supporting underrepresented founders.
“We invest in women; we invest in women of color, we invest in people of color,” she said. “A lot of these companies talk about diversity, but they just talk about it. It’s because it’s a good subject that they bring up, but they don’t really do a lot of things about it. And so at Serena Ventures, we do, we talk about it. We’ll be about it.”
Inside Serena Ventures
Some 76 percent of founders in the Serena Ventures portfolio are from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
Williams is also doing other deals. She recently partnered with CashApp for the brand’s new “That’s Money” campaign, starring in a new ad for the company.
She’s yet to retire from tennis, and she’s still striving for more championships. Having been off from the circuit, Williams is set to make her much-anticipated return to the WTA tour at the National Bank Open, taking place Aug. 6 to 14, in Toronto — in search of a record-tying 24th Grand Slam.