Why Serena Williams Will Become A Venture Capitalist
Why Serena Williams Will Become A Venture Capitalist

Why Did Serena Williams Become A Venture Capitalist?

On Tuesday, Serena Williams said she would take a break from tennis to devote more time to her family and her work as a venture capitalist. Williams revealed the information in a personal essay for Vogue.

Williams has the potential to go down in history as the highest-paid female tennis player. But the 23-time Grand Slam winner has been working as a venture investor in his spare time for the past few years.

Williams established Serena Ventures in 2014. According to a news release, Williams and her business partner, Alison Rapaport Stillman, have made angel investments in more than 60 firms through their firm, Serena Ventures. From financial technology firms like Propel and Cointracker to edtech unicorns like MasterClass and consumer goods startups like Billie and Daily Harvest, the firm has made investments in various industries.

Serena Ventures reported in March that it had collected $111 million in its first fund from institutions like banks and investors with high net worths like HNWIs and family offices. Williams told Dealbook that the fund would back entrepreneurs with “different perspectives.”

Williams says that she is “growing away from tennis.” She is now prepared to take the spotlight in her entrepreneurship career. In her essay, Williams gives a detailed account of why she became an investor. She mentioned in her article that a few years ago, she went to a seminar hosted by JP Morgan Chase. Caryn Seidman-Becker, CEO of security firm Clear, was one of the conference’s presenters.

According to what Williams reported to Caryn, only 2% of VC funding goes to women. Williams initially claimed in her letter that she misunderstood Caryn. After the meeting, Williams went over to Caryn to inquire if the number was accurate, and Caryn obliged.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

53% of the companies in Serena Ventures’ current portfolio were started by women, per the company’s website. The majority of the firm’s investments (around 76%) go to businesses started by people from marginalized communities. Of those total investments, 47% are led by people of color.

The company’s stats are significantly higher than the national average for venture capital funding. Crunchbase analyzed VC funding in 2021 and discovered that only 1.2% went to black founders. Despite this, a Crunchbase survey from 2022 found that only 2.5% of the budget went to Latino founders.

Calico, an eCommerce enablement firm created by Kathleen Chan, raised $2.1 million in a seed round in March, with Serena Ventures as the lead investor. The company invested in Chatdesk, a customer support chat platform developed by African-American entrepreneurs Andrew Olaleye and Aneto Okonkwo, in a $7 million Series A deal that closed in January. The company has also backed Esusu, a pioneering financial technology company founded by African-Americans. Stillman tells Insider via email that Serena Ventures is investing in 20 firms.


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A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams)

Stillman tells Insider via email that “the basic components of opportunity” for Serena Ventures are “money, mentorship, and support” and that “backing founders who have extraordinary potential that could be overlooked by other investors” is central to the firm’s goal. Our ability to write more extensive checks and lead seed rounds helps us fulfill this purpose and provide entrepreneurs something nearly no one else can: an intimate familiarity with the arduous climb to the top.

To this point, Serena Ventures has been led by a group of six women. Williams made light of the fact that they had just hired a male by calling him the company’s “first diversity recruit” in her column.

Williams comes from a long line of enterprising people. Husband Alexis Ohanian founded the startup capital firms Initialized Capital and Seven Seven Six, where Williams now works. It was in 2011 when Ohanian established Initialized Capital. In 2020, he departed to establish Seven Seven Six, an investment firm that, according to its website, has made bets on Dispo, Lolli, and Yuga Labs.

There is “no overlap or competition” between Seven Seven Six and Serena Ventures, according to comments Stillman made to Insider. As she continued, she mentioned that Seven Seven Six has “their investment thesis.” Williams wants to be remembered for more than just her extraordinary tennis career.

Williams wrote, “I adore Billie Jean because she transcended her sport.” For me, the story should go something like this: “Serena is this and she is that and she was a terrific tennis player and she won those slams.”


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A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams)

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About Govind Dhiman 2041 Articles
Govind Dhiman is a young and passionate entrepreneur who hails from Haryana, India. He founded Journalistpr.com to help journalists in the world of journalism grow their presence and amplify their voice on social media. Govind believes that content marketing is one of the most effective ways for businesses to establish themselves as authorities in their niche market space by publishing quality content on a consistent basis with an eye towards key metrics like engagement and shares.

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