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Serena Williams is paying it forward and investing in women and people of color-led businesses.

While chatting with fans on TikTok March 8, the tennis legend revealed that she has been heavily investing in emerging companies led by women and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds throughout her tennis career. She also discussed the catalyst that prompted her to establish her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.

In her “Get Ready With Me” style video published Friday, Serena divulged a shocking revelation born from her extensive 14-year journey in investing across a spectrum of seed-level startups to billion-dollar enterprises. The 42-year-old said she was shocked when she learned of the glaring disparity in VC funding directed towards businesses led by women.

“Somewhere down the line, I learned that less than 2% of all VC money went to women. And when I first heard that, I actually thought that it was a misquote. I thought well. That 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? And also…why? It doesn’t quite make sense.”

While applying her makeup, the 23-time Grand Slam champion said she knew “right then and there” that she wanted to open a VC funding firm created exclusively for women and entrepreneurs of color to open up opportunities for those eager to scale their businesses. 

In 2014, the award-winning tennis star launched her VC firm, Serena Ventures, which has provided financial backing to over 60 companies, steadily expanding its portfolio. Among these are notable fintech giants like Propel and Cointracker, alongside consumer product innovators such as Daily Harvest and Master Class.

Inclusivity lies at the heart of the venture capital fund’s mission. According to the Serena Ventures website, 54% of the firm’s portfolio is dedicated to businesses led by women, while 47% is allocated to support Black entrepreneurs. In total, underrepresented groups receive 79% of the funding, with an additional 11% specifically earmarked for emerging Latino business owners.

As a Black woman, Serena felt a personal frustration at the dearth of venture capital funding available to women and other diverse groups. Drawing parallels with her own journey as a decorated tennis player hailing from Compton, California, she speculated that had she not reached her career milestones in tennis, securing funding as a potential solo entrepreneur would have presented a significant challenge for her. 

“That means that… I would have had a fraction of a chance to get money if I wanted to start a company,” she explained. “Growing up in Compton, we were all entrepreneurs. You had to be to survive because we weren’t always afforded the same opportunities that other people were afforded and other people had.”

Since embarking on her investment journey in women and people of color-led businesses, Serena, who retired from tennis in 2022, said she observed a trend. Many of these diverse companies often excel, sometimes even surpassing big VC-backed enterprises, the mother of two noted. She attributed their success to the resilience and determination of their leaders, who have already overcome significant hurdles to seize opportunities.

“It was really important for me to not only invest in women and invest in people of color but also to bring true diversity to my portfolio and everyone I invest in,” Serena added.

Fans on TikTok applauded Serena Williams for sharing her VC firm investing journey.

In the comments section, fans praised Serena for using her platform to educate about investing and the power of supporting diverse business owners.  

“This is why I love TIKTOK, THE Serena Williams just casually talking next step investments with us. Like what!” wrote one user.

Another fan penned, “Serena Ventures was one of the best and kindest VC teams I met with.”

A third user wrote, “This was very informative! Can’t wait to see what you do next.”

A fourth user added, “How do we pitch out businesses to you?”

We love to see it, Serena!


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