In 2014, the tennis legend launched Serena Ventures with “the mission of giving opportunities to founders across an array of industries.”
Serena Ventures focuses on the early stage of companies while giving them the opportunity to be heard, the firm said.
Additionally, as those companies grow, it is its hope to “mentor young founders and take burgeoning entrepreneurs to the next level,” according to the Serena Ventures website.
Building relationships is at the core of Serena Ventures, mirroring its creator’s heart. It also “encourages collaboration among portfolio companies, and expands partnership opportunities across their network.”
Currently, Serena Ventures’ investments span multiple industries, including fashion, women’s empowerment, personal health and wellness, and e-commerce. Its portfolio includes startup companies such as Lola, a feminine personal care line that specializes in using 100% certified cotton in its products; Gobble, a food delivery service that prepares meal kits; and HoneyLove, the next generation of shapewear.
On top of investing in entrepreneurs who are changing the world with their ideas and products, Williams also personally spent time building Salt Marsh Elementary School in Trelawny Parish, in Jamaica, through a partnership with Helping Hands Jamaica.
In a video released online, Williams is seen getting down and dirty in a hardhat, safety goggles, and a hammer, all while sporting a white t-shirt with the words “I Built a School with Serena” printed across the center.
Helping Williams with construction were musician Sean Paul (Temperature), Jamaican track star Warren Weir, a bronze medalist in the 2012 London Olympics, and Yohan Blake, who won the 100-meter gold at the 2011 World Championships.
Williams kept her fans in the loop with an Instagram post, mentioning, “I just got the best update from my school in Jamaica. This gives me chills. I’m so happy these young kids now have a chance to have an education.
Apart from Jamaica, Williams also helps underserved areas in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda build schools through a partnership with Build Africa.