Serena Williams: From Tennis Legend to Unicorn Supporter, the Highest-Paid Female Athlete of All Time

Serena Williams: From Tennis Legend to Unicorn Supporter, the Highest-Paid Female Athlete of All Time

Renowned female tennis player Serena Williams has recently announced her impending retirement. Behind her illustrious career, few are aware that she is not only a millionaire but also a prominent investor in startups.

In an article published in Vogue on August 9, the legendary icon of women's tennis, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, Serena Williams, revealed that she would retire from professional tennis to focus on her family and the venture capital firm named Serena Ventures, as reported by Fortune magazine.

"I am gradually stepping away from tennis to focus on things that are more important to me. Currently, if I have to choose between focusing on my tennis career or my family, I will choose the latter," Serena Williams shared with Vogue. Moreover, the tennis legend from the United States stated that she has never truly been able to dedicate 100% of herself to her family during her peak career.

Throughout her career spanning decades, starting at the age of 5, Serena Williams, who will turn 41 next month, has accumulated an impressive record. She secured her first Grand Slam women's singles championship at the age of 17 in 1999, and along with her sister Venus, they won 14 Grand Slam women's doubles titles. In the 2012 Olympics, Serena Williams won the gold medal in women's singles tennis, and she and her sister Venus also secured three Olympic gold medals in women's doubles. Serena Williams also held the number one ranking in the Women's Tennis Association for an extended period.

In 2017, Serena Williams was the only woman to make it to Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid athletes, ranking 51st. In the following year's list, she jumped to the 28th position. With a net worth of $260 million USD and over $94.5 million USD in prize money, she is the highest-paid female athlete of all time.

The Launchpad for Unicorns

While not officially announcing the retirement timeline, recent social media posts subtly confirm that the American tennis player will formally bid farewell to her peak playing career after the US Open 2022. Specifically, on her personal Instagram, Serena Williams stated, "The countdown begins. I will savor this feeling in the coming weeks."

Post-retirement, it seems that the American athlete will shift her focus to investments through her personal investment firm called Serena Ventures. "Every morning, I am excited to go down the stairs to my office. I turn on the Zoom app and start researching companies that my fund is considering for investment," the American athlete revealed.

Serena Williams shared that she has been fond of seed and pre-seed funding rounds since making her initial investments nearly a decade ago. She was one of the first investors in the MasterClass online education platform, one of the 16 unicorns her company sponsored, along with Impossible Foods, Tonal, and the French NFT company Sorare.

"Consider Sorare as a new revenue source for female athletes. It can have a significant impact on the careers of female athletes. The company can help increase support for teams and athletes. As an advisor, I have witnessed the growth of many companies. This is truly exciting and will impact many things," Serena Williams shared with Fortune.

Most of the companies Serena Williams' investment fund has funded are related to what is closely associated with her career, including areas such as health, fitness, and sports. The 6-member team at Serena Ventures has raised $111 million in external funding since the beginning of 2022. As of the current date, the company has made 55 investments. Nearly 80% of Serena Ventures' investment portfolio is in companies founded by women and/or minorities. "That's our choice," emphasized Serena Williams.

The American athlete has mentioned some inspirational figures for women, including former tennis player Billie Jean King, former Meta Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, and Clear Secure CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker.

"There have been times when I understood that someone like me needs to start writing big checks. Souls and like-minded thoughts will attract each other. In the past, many male investors poured money into businesses led by men. Let us change that. In my position, I have a responsibility to help more women on their career journeys," Serena Williams shared.

Previous Post Next Post