Serena Williams, Invest In Women, Ulta

Serena Williams Shares Her VC Fund’s ‘Mission’ To Invest In Women And Diversity, And The 14 Companies That Reached Unicorn Status

Serena Williams recently explained the groundbreaking work she's doing with her venture capital fund Serena Ventures.

Serena Williams recently took time out of her day to explain the groundbreaking work she’s doing with her venture capital fund, Serena Ventures.

In an eight-minute TikTok video shared last month, the decorated tennis champion outlined her work as an investor and the companies she’s seen reach new heights after serving as an early investor. Williams thought it would be “fun” to update her fans and followers on her life post-retirement from professional tennis.

“One thing that I’ve been doing, that I’ve been doing for years and years and years is investments,” she shared while applying her makeup.

“I invest in a lot of companies. Early companies,” she added while noting the “early stages” a company she invests in is typically in.

@serena My mission after tennis is investing in us! Women, people of color and diversity. But it did not start after tennis. It started during. I just do it full time now. Here is how I started. #foryou #fyp #makeup #business #investing #venturecapital #serenawilliams #serenaventures #momsoftiktok ♬ original sound – Serenawilliams

It’s a familiar endeavor for Williams, who has been investing for 14 years even while she was busy winning titles on the tennis court.

“Just been an entrepreneur while I was playing tennis. It was important for me to make a Plan B while I was doing my Plan A,” she explained.

The mother of two breaks down what she does as an investor and the more than 85 companies she’s invested in within her personal portfolio. Williams also highlighted the 14 unicorn companies under her belt, which she explained are companies that go on to reach a valuation of $1 billion or more.

“We have a couple of unicorns. Well, actually 14 unicorns,” she said.

Williams went on to list MasterClass as one of the companies she invested in early on that sparked her interest in pursuing VC funding further. She discovered MasterClass when the staff was just eight people working out of a garage in San Francisco, and it helped her think about the women and BIPOC-owned businesses that also needed financial backing.

“I learned that less than 2% of all VC money went to women. And when I first heard that, I actually thought it was a misquote,” she explained.

“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 continued, “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.’”

Since launching Serena Ventures, her fund’s portfolio includes 79% underrepresented founders, 54% women founders, 47% Black founders, and 11% Latino founders. Among her company’s highlighted investments is the company Parfait. This Black-woman-owned wig customization platform provides all women with an AI-backed virtual experience with a wide range of styles.

“My portfolio kind of leans more toward women and people of color because when people are talking about diversity that really means everyone having a seat at the table. Everyone having a chance to win,” Williams said.

Other things on her list include volunteering at her daughter’s school, incubating companies, and applying her own makeup.

RELATED CONTENT: Serena Williams Would Rather Volunteer At Her Daughter’s School Than Win Wimbledon