Serena Williams' Venture Capital Firm Invests in Women and People of Color
|thenorthstar||Apr 27, 2019|
Tennis icon Serena Williams added venture capitalist to her resume, after announcing that she quietly launched an investment firm in 2014. The firm has already invested in more than 30 companies. “In 2014, (yes I know I can keep a secret) I launched Serena Ventures with a mission of giving opportunities to founders across an array of industries,” Williams said in an announcement posted on Instagram. “Serena Ventures invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment creativity, and opportunity.”
The Serena Ventures firm invests in early-stage companies and aims to mentor young founders, according to its website. “Similar to many of the companies we have invested in, we are just getting started and are hoping to make a difference.” Serena Ventures lists just two team members, Williams and Vice President Alison Rapaport. According to the company’s website, Rapaport previously worked for J.P. Morgan Asset Management in multi-asset solutions.
Williams and Rapaport did not immediately respond to The North Star’s inquiries. The firm’s investments include organic baby food delivery subscription service Little Spoon, razor brand Billie, health and wellness brand Olly, and feminine products subscription service Lola. The 23-time tennis Grand Slam champion has also invested in San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and the mobile payment service Wave, which is available in five African countries, Quartz Africa reported.
Williams has been vocal in her support of women of color in the past. In March, dating app Bumble announced that Williams would invest in and advise the Bumble Fund, which primarily supports startups led by women of color. “I’ve learned how impactful one woman’s voice can be when given a platform to speak and be heard. I am passionate about building on this progress and opening doors for women of all backgrounds, especially women of color, to share their message and trust in their potential to accomplish great things,” Williams said in a statement, according to Fortune.
She continued, “By joining forces with the Bumble Fund, we will continue amplifying female entrepreneurs and creating a place for them to personally and professionally champion their growth.”
The Bumble Fund, which launched in 2018, has invested in Beautycon, Mahmee, Alice, Cleo Capital, and other seed and Series A-stage startups and funds. The company said it focuses on early-stage investments “primarily in businesses founded and led by women of color and those from underrepresented groups.” According to Fortune, the Bumble Fund invests between $5,000 and $250,000. The company did not reveal how much Williams was investing in the company or the size of the Bumble Fund.
Williams also serves as a board member of clothing company Poshmark and online survey company SurveyMonkey.
In an essay in Fortune for International Women’s Day, Williams discussed the need to support women. “While I think all women are superheroes, we are not superhuman and we need each other’s support,” she wrote. “We need to give each other grace when we fall short—and when society sets unrealistic expectations or our workplaces have antiquated rules. We must band together and fight for what’s fair.”
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.