Serena Williams Announces Her VC Firm, Serena Ventures, Backs Andela

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Written by Ann Brown
Seren Williams
Serena Williams arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Besides being a 23-time tennis Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams is also a venture capitalist.  Recently Williams partnered with dating app Bumble to invest in Black businesswomen, now comes news that Williams’ venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, has backed African company Andela.

Andela, which is actually based in New York is a developer training and outsourcing company with operations in four African countries. The startup has other high-powered including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

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Williams has been very low-key about her investment fund, which she founded in 2014. But according to Serena Ventures’ website, it has backed 30 companies across several industries including e-commerce, fashion, and social good.

It also states that the fund backs companies “that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.”

Andela is one such company as it features a diverse team of co-founders and executives. It admits budding African developers into its program and then outsources them to global companies looking for development talent.

“Andela among the best funded startups in Africa. Its $100 million Series D round, which Serena Ventures participated in earlier this year, is one of the largest ever single rounds raised by an African-focused tech company and brought the total venture funding raised by the company to $180 million,” Quartz reported.

Williams, normally quiet about Serna Ventures, mentioned her venture capital firm on Instagram recently.

Serena Ventures has also backed San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, online learning platform Masterclass, and Wave, a remittance service offered in five African countries.

“The firm’s website lists the 30 start-ups in the VC’s portfolio, so far. The offerings range from food delivery and razors to cryptocurrencies. The list includes d-to-c frozen smoothie and bowls delivery service Daily Harvest; women-focused razor subscription service Billie; and The Wing, a company that designs co-working spaces that are tailored to the needs of women,” Quartz reported.

The market cap for Serena Ventures’ Portfolio is an estimated $12 billion.

Besides being one of the highest paid female athletes, Williams is also an astute businesswoman. “In 2017, she was the only female athlete on Forbes’ list of 100 highest paid athletes, with more than $27 million in prize money and endorsements…Williams has her own clothing line, Serena, which she launched in May 2018. Williams is also a board member of Poshmark and SurveyMonkey,” Ad Age reported.


About Ann Brown

Ann Brown has been a freelance writer for more than two decades. Her work has appeared in CocoaFab, Black Enterprise, Essence, MadameNoire.com, New York Trend, Upscale, Moguldom, AFKInsider, The Network Journal, Playboy, Africa Strictly Business, For Harriet, Pathfinders, Black Meetings & Tourism, Frequent Flier, Girl, Honey, Source Sports, The Source, Black Radio Exclusive, and Launch. She studied journalism at New York University and has her B.A. Born in New York, Ann lived in Praia, Cabo Verde, for nearly a decade. She created “An American In Cabo Verde,” a Facebook community.