Hustle Mindset

Serena Williams’ VC Fund Has Invested In 14 Companies That Have Gone On To Reach Unicorn Status, A Value Of $1B Or More

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Serena Williams’ legacy extends far beyond her greatness on the tennis court.

Following her retirement in September 2022, Williams focused more of her attention on the investment arena. With over a decade of investment experience, she took a pivotal step in 2014 by establishing Serena Ventures, a venture capital fund specifically designed to champion women and underrepresented founders, according to its LinkedIn profile.

“I invest in a lot of companies, early companies, and I’ve always done this. I’ve actually been investing for over 14 years and just been an entrepreneur while I was playing tennis. It’s super important for me to make a plan B while I was doing my plan A,” Williams explained in a TikTok video.

The VC endeavor resulted from Williams discovering the evident absence of venture capital directed toward certain demographics, which prompted her to become a vessel for change. As noted on its website, the company’s portfolio comprises 79% underrepresented founders, 54% women founders, 47% Black founders, and 11% Latino founders.

“I learned that less than 2% of all VC money went to women,” Williams explained in a TikTok video. “And when I first heard that, I actually thought it was a misquote. I thought, ‘Well, they can’t be real.’ Like, we’re talking about trillions of dollars, and what do you mean less than 2% of that goes to women?…I learned that when I first started investing, I learned that actually was true and that was something that was happening. And so I knew right then and there that one day I wanted to raise a fund or raise money and invest in women.”

She added, “I also learned that even less went to people of color. So I thought, ‘My goodness. I’m a Black woman and say my name isn’t Serena Williams, or I hadn’t had a career, that means I would have less than, well, not even less than 2%, a fraction of a chance to get money if I wanted to start a company.’”

@serena

My mission after tennis is investing in us! Women, people of color and diversity. But it did not start after tennis. It started during. I just do it full time now. Here is how I started. #foryou #fyp #makeup #business #investing #venturecapital #serenawilliams #serenaventures #momsoftiktok

♬ original sound – Serenawilliams

Williams was determined and has since invested in more than 85 companies, as mentioned on TikTok. AFROTECH™ previously reported her investment portfolio includes healthcare startup HUED and Parfait, an artificial intelligence-powered platform specializing in customizable wig products, both led by Black women. 

Williams notes she also invested in MasterClass, an edtech startup, which was valued at $2.75 billion in 2021, as announced by CNBC.

“I remember finding that company with like eight people in a small room in a garage in San Francisco. And I just fell in love with what they were doing and what they were building,” she explained on TikTok.

Beyond MasterClass, Williams has also provided financial backing for plant-based meat substitute company Impossible Foods, subscription-based weight-loss app Noom, and Karat, which helps companies hire top engineering talent.

What’s more, Williams estimates that 14 of her portfolio companies have gone on to reach unicorn status. Detailed by Fortune, the term refers to a “privately held startup company with a valuation of $1 billion or more.”

Companies that can reach such a status are considered “innovative or disruptive” and are expected to grow quickly. Per the outlet, some unicorns have been rideshare company Uber, vacation property company Airbnb, and social media platform Pinterest, to name a few.

For the 14 companies Williams has invested in, it is a huge milestone, and with this monetary support, they will have the chance to expand their reach and accomplish more long-term goals.





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