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After US Open, Serena Williams to focus on her venture capital firm

“I started investing nine years ago, and I really fell in love with early stage," said Serena Williams, who started Serena Ventures a few years ago.

August 30, 2022 / 08:07 AM IST
Serena Williams designed a limited edition bottle for Gatorade earlier this year. (Image: Twitter/@serenawilliams)

Serena Williams designed a limited edition bottle for Gatorade earlier this year. (Image: Twitter/@serenawilliams)

After playing her final US Open tournament, Serena Williams will set sights on a new chapter of her professional life. The 40-year-old tennis star, who recently announced her retirement from tennis, has said she will focus on her family and her venture capital firm after she puts down the racquet.

Williams told Vogue in a profile published earlier this month that she is slowly evolving away from tennis.

“A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family,” she said. “I want to grow that family.”

The balance in her life, Serena Williams said, has been shifting towards her family and towards Serena Ventures – which, according to NPR, is one of the few venture capital firms owned by a Black woman. Williams hopes to turn it into a billion-dollar fund one day.

“It’s what I’m into, and what I really like doing,” Williams said of her early-stage venture firm in an interview with Bloomberg just before she announced her retirement. “I like talking to founders and asking questions and learning about businesses.”

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With her firm, Williams also hopes to level the playing field in a different way – it is a women-led business that invests in other women-led businesses. “Serena Ventures has been an all-female business until recently, when we brought in our first guy—a diversity hire!” the tennis star revealed to Vogue.

“Seventy-eight percent of our portfolio happens to be companies started by women and people of color, because that’s who we are,” explained Williams.

Serena Ventures raised $111 million this year from banks, private individuals, and family offices. It has invested in 16 unicorns.

“I started investing nine years ago, and I really fell in love with early stage, whether it’s pre-seed funding, where you’re investing in just an idea, or seed, where the idea has already been turned into a product,” explained Williams.

“I wrote one of the very first checks for MasterClass. It’s one of 16 unicorns—companies valued at more than $1 billion—that Serena Ventures has funded, along with Tonal, Impossible Foods, Noom, and Esusu, to name a few.”

Serena Williams swept into the US Open second round on Monday in what is expected to be the 23-time Grand Slam title winner's final tournament.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Aug 30, 2022 08:05 am
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