Tennis legend Serena Williams has been quietly building her investment portfolio the past five years since launching her Serena Ventures fund in 2014. It wasn’t until this past April, however, that Williams publicly announced the formation of the venture capital firm. Sharing the news on Instagram, Williams stated:
“In 2014, (yes I know I can keep a secret) I launched Serena Ventures with the mission of giving opportunities to founders across an array of industries. Serena Ventures invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity…”
Focused on women- and minority-owned businesses, the fund primarily invests in early stage, mission-driven companies led by diverse, emerging women entrepreneurs of color. Since 2014, the firm has invested in more than 30 companies, including businesses that serve e-commerce, food and beverage, fashion, health and wellness, social good and more.
Williams is interested in investing more than just money in these companies though. She is also passionate about providing founders with mentorship and other leadership support to help them grow their enterprises. Recently appointing Alison Rapaport as Serena Ventures vice president to oversee the fund's portfolio and new investments, Williams is now poised to take the firm to even greater heights.
"As we grow, we hope to mentor young founders and take burgeoning entrepreneurs to the next level," Williams states on her website. "Serena Ventures extends relationship, encourages collaboration among portfolio companies, and expands partnership opportunities across my vast network. Similar to many of the companies we have invested in, we are just getting started and are hoping to make a difference."
An advocate for women in the investment space, Williams announced her investment in another fund this past March. Becoming an investor in the Bumble Fund, a fund operated by the dating app Bumble that invests in startups led by women of color and other underrepresented groups, Williams continues to bet on women. She also serves on the boards of tech companies like Poshmark and SurveyMonkey.
Considered by many the greatest tennis player of all time, with a record 23 Grand Slam titles in singles, Williams’ powerful legacy is still growing. Her work to give women a financial voice is creating systemic change that will not only benefit her young daughter, but also the many generations to come.