Serena Williams has 14 investments in billion-dollar companies

Serena Williams’ legacy extends far beyond her remarkable tennis career. Since retiring in September 2022, Williams has shifted her focus to the investment world. With over a decade of experience, she took a significant step in 2014 by founding Serena Ventures, a venture capital fund aimed at supporting women and underrepresented founders.

Image Credit: Karwai Tang

Williams explained in a TikTok video, “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.”

The motivation behind Serena Ventures came from Williams’ realization of the lack of venture capital available to certain demographics. According to the company’s website, its portfolio includes 79% underrepresented founders, 54% women founders, 47% Black founders, and 11% Latino founders. Williams was shocked to learn that less than 2% of all VC money went to women. “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?” she said. She knew then that she wanted to raise a fund to invest in women and people of color.

Determined to make a change, Williams has since invested in more than 85 companies. Her portfolio includes healthcare startup HUED, AI-powered wig platform Parfait, and edtech startup MasterClass, which was valued at $2.75 billion in 2021. “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 shared.

Other notable investments include plant-based meat company Impossible Foods, subscription-based weight-loss app Noom, and engineering talent hiring platform Karat. Impressively, 14 of her portfolio companies have achieved unicorn status, meaning they are privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more. These companies are considered innovative or disruptive and have the potential for rapid growth.

Re-reported the article originally published in Afrotech.

Serena Williams has 14 investments in billion-dollar companies

Serena Williams’ legacy extends far beyond her remarkable tennis career. Since retiring in September 2022, Williams has shifted her focus to the investment world. With over a decade of experience, she took a significant step in 2014 by founding Serena Ventures, a venture capital fund aimed at supporting women and underrepresented founders.

Image Credit: Karwai Tang

Williams explained in a TikTok video, “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.”

The motivation behind Serena Ventures came from Williams’ realization of the lack of venture capital available to certain demographics. According to the company’s website, its portfolio includes 79% underrepresented founders, 54% women founders, 47% Black founders, and 11% Latino founders. Williams was shocked to learn that less than 2% of all VC money went to women. “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?” she said. She knew then that she wanted to raise a fund to invest in women and people of color.

Determined to make a change, Williams has since invested in more than 85 companies. Her portfolio includes healthcare startup HUED, AI-powered wig platform Parfait, and edtech startup MasterClass, which was valued at $2.75 billion in 2021. “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 shared.

Other notable investments include plant-based meat company Impossible Foods, subscription-based weight-loss app Noom, and engineering talent hiring platform Karat. Impressively, 14 of her portfolio companies have achieved unicorn status, meaning they are privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more. These companies are considered innovative or disruptive and have the potential for rapid growth.

Re-reported the article originally published in Afrotech.