In 2014, Serena Williams launched Serena Ventures, a Micro Venture Capital company which aims to provide opportunities to founders.
Prior to this time, not many people knew that the award wining tennis star was also as business savvy. However, since starting Serena Ventures, her company has partnered with a number of businesses through capital investments.
Though it is only being made known now, Serena Ventures has been quietly investing in a number of companies since 2014. Today, they boast of about 30 companies across e-commerce, fashion and social good in their portfolio.
“I launched Serena Ventures with the mission of giving opportunities to founders across an array of industries,” Williams said in her announcement on Instagram.
On the company website, Alison Rapaport is listed as the vice president of the firm, and the only other employee besides Williams. It is said that Rapaport who was a former asset manager at JPMorgan, will oversee the fund’s portfolio and new investments.
In May 2019, Serena Ventures participated in Andela’s funding round which was aimed at raising $100 million. It was one of the largest ever single rounds raised by an African-focused tech company and brought the total venture funding raised by the company to $180 million.
Though operating without any industry restrictions, Serena Ventures are said to invest in companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.
“As we build towards the distributed future of work, we are proud to have investors who also believe that while the digital revolution may have started in Silicon Valley, it’s future will be written in cities across Africa” says Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Andela. “In Serena Ventures, we’ve found a values-aligned partner that also cares deeply about diversity, empowerment and opportunity, and we’re proud to be on this journey together.”
With a focus on early stage companies, Serena Ventures hopes to mentor young entrepreneurs and help push them to the next level.
Some of the companies Serena Ventures has invested in so far include:
Coinbase, the San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange;
Masterclass, the online learning platform;
Wave, a remittance service that’s available in five African countries.