Serena Williams’ venture capital firm led a $5 million raise in the mental health arena.
Bloomberg reports Serena Ventures led an early-stage round for Wondermind, a multimedia company — founded by Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey, and Daniella Pierson — that prioritizes mental health. Participating investors included Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. Plus, the outlet revealed Brent Saunders, the former chief executive officer of pharmaceutical company Allergan, also participated.
The platform, which has a valuation of a reported $100 million, is looking to strengthen its efforts to “democratize and destigmatize mental health globally via daily editorial content, insightful entertainment, and tangible tools,” according to a press release.
Williams Is Proving That Beyond The Court, There Is Still Work To Do
Williams is currently in the process of saying goodbye to the world of tennis, as previously reported by VOGUE. Yet, she is proving there is far more work to be done beyond the court. Toward the latter end of her career, her focus shifted more and more toward Serena Ventures. The company’s investments have scaled companies in various industries including fitness, hair, education, mental wellness, and food among others.
“In my own life, the balance has been slowly shifting toward Serena Ventures,” Williams told VOGUE. “I always say that I’m a sponge: At night I go to bed and I squeeze myself out so that the next day I can take up as much new information as I can. Every morning, I’m so excited to walk downstairs to my office and jump onto Zooms and start reviewing decks of companies we’re considering investing in. We’re a small but growing firm of six people scattered between Florida, where I mainly live, Texas, and California.”
She continued: “I started investing nine years ago, and I really fell in love with early stage, whether it’s pre-seed funding, where you’re investing in just an idea, or seed, where the idea has already been turned into a product. I wrote one of the very first checks for MasterClass. It’s one of 16 unicorns—companies valued at more than $1 billion—that Serena Ventures has funded, along with Tonal, Impossible Foods, Noom, and Esusu, to name a few. This year we raised $111 million of outside financing, from banks, private individuals, and family offices.”