Surprise! Serena Williams posted on Instagram today that she's been investing in companies "that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity" since way back in 2014. Today, she officially launched Serena Ventures (opens in new tab) publicly, with a list of the companies she's been secretly supporting for the past five years. And not only that, but it's clear that she's connecting to issues she cares about in her work, judging by the list of over 30 companies in the portfolio.
Recipients range from Propel, which provides financial software for low-income Americans, to the reproductive care company Lola (they've got the best tampons around, in my experience), to home fitness system Tonal, to fresh baby food delivery company Little Spoon, to female-driven community The Wing, to online learning resource Masterclass. The common focus for many of the companies seems to be empowering women, individuals of color, and the betterment of lives—both professionally and personally.
Serena's also made it explicit on her website that Serena Ventures is focusing on mentoring young entrepreneurs and encouraging collaboration between founders:
Serena Ventures focuses on early stage companies, and giving them the opportunity to be heard. As we grow, we hope to mentor young founders and take burgeoning entrepreneurs to the next level. Serena Ventures extends relationships, encourages collaboration among portfolio companies, and expands partnership opportunities across my vast network. Similar to many of the companies we have invested in, we are just getting started and are hoping to make a difference.
Her VP is Alison J. Rapaport, a CPA formerly at J.P. Morgan who's overseeing Serena Ventures' portfolio and sourcing new investments. The total market cap of the portfolio is $12 billion.
The tennis pro (opens in new tab), entrepreneur (opens in new tab), and friend to Meghan Markle (opens in new tab) is no stranger to starting her own company—or, for that matter, fully embracing disruptions to a traditional industry. In May 2018, she launched her own eponymous clothing line Serena, and in December, she added "Great" sizes (opens in new tab) (instead of calling them "plus" sizes). "I got tired of the word 'plus.' I don't want to be 'plus.' I want to be great," she told MarieClaire.com at the time. "I want other women to feel that way too. I wanted to make clothes that would fit a curvy women and have them feel great, let's focus on that."
Just last month, Serena announced (opens in new tab) she would be an investor in dating app Bumble's Bumble Fund, which "backs early-stage businesses founded and led by women of color and underrepresented groups." She's also a board member of Poshmark and SurveyMonkey. In that same article, Serena Ventures was mentioned by name as one of the ways Serena is investing in women and minority-owned businesses—so the company wasn't fully a secret in the tech world, but this is likely the first time Serena is speaking publicly about her own involvement.
So Serena Ventures is just another move in the same forward-looking direction. Here's the original post about Serena Ventures this morning:
A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
I guarantee this isn't the last we've heard of the company—and I love that Serena is fully committed to impact in more ways than one.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
SUBSCRIBE HERE (opens in new tab)
Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
‘Harry & Meghan’ Director Liz Garbus Says Buckingham Palace Tried to “Discredit” the Docuseries
Despite the Palace’s claims otherwise, Garbus says the show did reach out to them for comment.
By Rachel Burchfield
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Would Have Been the “First to Hear” of Princess Eugenie’s Pregnancy, Expert Says
Eugenie is arguably the member of the royal family the Sussexes remain closest to.
By Rachel Burchfield
Where Has Meghan Markle Been Lately?
Largely unseen during the ‘Spare’ mayhem, she is apparently “happy to let Harry take center stage.”
By Rachel Burchfield
Sarah Hyland and Adam Devine Play 'How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?'
The 'Modern Family' stars reunited for the 'Pitch Perfect' spinoff series.
By Brooke Knappenberger
The 78 Best Celebrity Couple Halloween Costumes of All Time
Honestly, we're impressed.
By Charlotte Chilton
Super Rare Photos of Queen Elizabeth as a Young Woman
From childhood snapshots to portraits as a young princess, beautiful and rare photos of the late Queen Elizabeth as a young woman.
By Mehera Bonner
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla's Relationship: A Timeline
With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles has ascended to the throne as king.
By The Editors
Who Is Next in Line for the British Throne, Explained
And yes—Harry and Archie are still in the line of succession.
By Andrea Park
Who Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Fiancé Riley Roberts?
AOC's husband-to-be is an "easygoing redhead" who lives with her in D.C.
By Katherine J Igoe
68 Times the Kardashians Posed Fully Nude and Owned It
And we mean fully nude—as in, not a shred of clothing.
By Bianca Rodriguez
Who Is Jonathan Owens, Simone Biles's Fiancé and NFL Player?
"The easiest yes!" Simone wrote about the couple's engagement.
By The Editors