Tennis superstar Serena Williams-owned Serena Ventures (SV), an early-stage venture capital entity, has raised a debut asset of $111 million. In a tweet, she said, “Thrilled to be announcing our inaugural fund! With an angel portfolio with 13 unicorns and 6 exits, launching a fund was the logical next step. We’re excited to continue funding founders that are building a more inclusive tomorrow.”
The former World No. 1 in an interview has said that the company will primarily help founders and business leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. On its website, SV said, “At Serena Ventures we envision a world in which genius isn’t stifled by a lack of resources. A future in which historically overlooked people and markets are empowered for a more inclusive economy. Today we’re excited to share that we’ve raised an inaugural fund of $111M to continue pursuing our mission.”
Serena has been a vocal advocate of increasing diversity in the technology space. According to the official website, 76% of the funding has gone to founders from underrepresented groups, 53% of the funding has gone to women leaders.
“In an ecosystem where solo women founders receive 2% of venture funding and Black founders receive 1.2%, we break the mould. We don’t require founders to come from historically underrepresented backgrounds, yet 76% of our portfolio founders do. We bet on the best founders, period,” the SV website elaborated.
Serena already is an active angel investor with interests in top brands like Daily Harvest and MasterClass. SV has already invested in the in-vogue sectors like Web3, fintech, and edtech.
Incidentally, Serena has expressed her disappointment with The New York Times for their huge gaffe. The NYT had published a story on their newspaper edition about the initial round of funding of SV but carried a photo of Serena’s sister and another tennis star Venus to accompany the text. Venus is not related to Serena Ventures. She tweeted, “No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it’s not enough. This is why I raised $111M for Serena ventures. To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked. “
Her foray into investing as a venture capital firm is not surprising as she is already a board member of Poshmark and Momentive and runs her own clothing line. She also is a minority stakeholder of NFL team Miami Dolphins among other multiple interests.