Serena Williams has been a dominant force in tennis for more than 20 years, but she’s also a titan in business. So while Tuesday’s news about her retirement from the sport sent shockwaves far and wide, Williams’ plans to expand her empire are a no-brainer.
While simultaneously winning 23-time Grand Slams, she also runs Serena Ventures, which raised $111 million funding round this year among her many other business endeavors. The VC firm funnels investment dollars to startups headed up underrepresented founders (comprised of 76% of its portfolio), which include Black women, a long overlooked group in VC circles.
“I launched Serena Ventures with the mission of giving opportunities to founders across an array of industries,” Williams said in her announcement on Instagram back in 2019.
Now that she’s officially announced she’s evolving away from her life as a full-time athlete, here’s a look at her accomplishments as a businesswoman thus far.
She launched a VC firm that’s raised more than $111 Million in funds for diversity
Williams’ private company, Serena Ventures announced in March that it raised $111 million for its new early-stage venture capital firm that aims at amplifying BIPOC and women-owned businesses.
Founded in 2014, it has invested in about 60 startup companies, thirteen of which are unicorns.
She’s secured some of the most lucrative endorsement deals of all time
From Nike, Beats by Dre, Gatorade, Delta Air Lines, Audemars Piguet, Cash App, Aston Martin, Pepsi, Mission Athletecare, Berlei bras, OPI Products, OnePiece, IBM, Mini, Intel, Chase Bank, Wheaties, Tempur and Chase Bank among many others, the icon has had brands clamoring to work with her since 1998.
She’s built a fashion empire
Over the years, the tennis icon’s on-court outfits inspired almost as much talk as her powerful athleticism, and she took that all the way to the bank. Always a lover of fashion, she launched her sustainable clothing brand S by Serena in 2018, which touts the beauty of inclusivity and body positivity at any size.
She invested $13M to gain ownership of UK Football Club
in May that Williams and Formula One star Lewis Hamilton are among the investors aiming to purchase English soccer club Chelsea. Reports estimate that it will take about $3.27 billion to secure ownership of the Football Club.
Between Hamilton and Williams’s investment, their bidding group would be $13.1 million closer to clenching ownership.
Her and sister, Venus are the first Black women to have ownership stake in Miami Dolphins
In 2009, Serena and Venus Williams purchased a minority ownership stake in the Miami Dolphins — making them the first Black women to ever have part ownership in the team.
She penned a book and launched a digital brand based on her daughter’s doll
What started as a funny series of posts via her Instagram turned into a smart business endeavor. Williams’ daughter’s doll, Qai Qai inspired a children’s book (to be released in the fall), Adventures of Qai Qai and a separate online platform
that boasts more than 300k followers.