Serena Williams' investment firm Serena Ventures recently raised $111 million to power early-stage startups. The firm has made angel investments in 60 companies looking to "solve everyday problems through unconventional thinking and diverse points of view."
The American took to social media to announce the news, posting a short video of herself on Instagram. Thanking the members of her team, including general partner Alison Rapaport, Williams revealed that the firm's inaugural fund was over-subscribed.
"When @serena.ventures close our 110m fund and it’s over subscribed. @ali_jo_rap_stillman @abirliben Thanks ladies 🥰🥰 #dreamteam"
Speaking about her interest in investing in an interview with Black Enterprise, Williams said she always knew that she wanted to work in the field and took an active interest in learning about it before taking the plunge.
"As an angel investor, you can only do so much,” Williams said. “I knew that I wanted to do a fund, but I worked backward, by using my own capital and then creating a track record and getting to know everyone.”
“This isn’t new for me," she continued. “This is something I’ve been doing for a really, really, really long time and it’s something that I absolutely love and I’m super passionate about.” I love looking at new companies. I love talking to founders, I absolutely love passing on the knowledge that I’ve been able to get and being able to impact other people.”
"I wanted to really bring diversity to venture capital in the way that I could" - Serena Williams
In the interview with Black Enterprise, Williams also spoke about the lack of diversity in the field of venture capital. The American said she was shocked to learn that only 2% of the money from the industry goes to women and wanted to change that.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, however, was quick to add that an increasing number of companies are beginning to realize the importance of diversity.
“I was at a conference and Caryn Seidman-Becker, the founder of CLEAR, was on stage and she said less than 2% of all VC money goes to women. I legit thought she misspoke because 98% is a huge number,” Williams said. “I couldn’t wrap my mind around basically almost 100% of money is going to the men.”
“I wanted to really bring diversity to VC in the way that I could. And the only way to change those numbers was to be the person writing the big checks,” she continued. “It’s been proven that the more diverse your team, the better you do, and companies are now starting to realize that.”