Serena Williams’ VC Fund Has Invested In 14 Companies That Have Now Reached Unicorn Status

Serena Williams’ VC Fund Has Invested In 14 Companies That Have Now Reached Unicorn Status

Serena Williams’ legacy go far beyond her greatness on the tennis court.

Following her retirement in September 2022, Ms. Williams further focused on her investment field. According to her LinkedIn profile, she has over 10 years of investment experience and in 2014 founded her venture capital fund, Serena, which aims to specifically support women and underrepresented founders. We made a big change by founding Ventures.

“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,” Williams explained in a TikTok video.

The VC Project was born out of Williams’ discovery of a distinct lack of venture capital for a certain demographic, which inspired her to become an agent of change. As stated on its website, the company’s portfolio is 79% underrepresented founders, 54% female founders, 47% Black founders, and 11% Latinx founders.

“I learned that less than 2% of all VC money went to women,” Williams explained in a TikTok video. “And 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?…I learned that when I first started investing, I learned that actually was true and that was something that was happening. And so I knew right then and there that one day I wanted to raise a fund or raise money and invest in women.”

She added, “I also learned that even less went to people of color. So I thought, ‘My goodness. I’m a Black woman and say my name isn’t Serena Williams, or I hadn’t had a career, that means I would have less than, well, not even less than 2%, a fraction of a chance to get money if I wanted to start a company.`”

Williams was adamant, and according to TikTok, he has subsequently invested in over 85 companies. As previously reported by AFROTECHTM, among the investments in her portfolio include the Black women-led health care startup HUED and the artificial intelligence-driven platform Parfait, which specializes in personalized wig products.

According to CNBC, Williams said in 2021 he also invested in his MasterClass, an education technology startup valued at $2.75 billion.

“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 explained on TikTok.

In addition to MasterClass, Williams has financed Impossible Foods, a plant-based meat alternative, Noom, a subscription-based weight-loss software, and Karat, an organization that helps companies in hiring top engineering talent.

Additionally, Williams estimates that 14 of his portfolio companies have achieved unicorn status. According to Fortune, the term refers to “privately held startup company with a valuation of $1 billion or more.”

Companies that achieve this status are considered “innovative or disruptive” and are expected to grow rapidly. The report said unicorns included ride-hailing company Uber, vacation real estate company Airbnb, and social media platform Pinterest, to name a few.

This is a major milestone for his 14 companies in which Williams has invested, and with this financial support they will have the opportunity to expand their business scope and achieve their long-term goals.

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