Tennis superstar and philanthropist Serena Williams is giving back to underserved communities by backing leading rent reporter fintech company Esusu.
According to a press release, Williams participated in the company’s $10 million Series A funding round — led by Motley Fool Ventures — with an undisclosed “significant investment” through her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.
In speaking with CNBC, Williams shared that she started her company to “invest in diverse founders and early-stage companies that outperform and generate impact, while at the same time empowering others and creating opportunities” — thus identifying Esusu as one of those very companies.
“Esusu is really focused on credit building and creating pathways to financial inclusion for not only working families but for individuals as well,” she shared in a press statement. “Their services also make rent reporting seamless – finally giving renters credit for what often is their largest expense every month. Last year, of course, was the COVID-19 pandemic. It created an unemployment and housing crisis that left many renters struggling to make their rental payments on time, and they were often facing eviction. We saw Esusu respond immediately with rent relief efforts – creating zero-interest housing stability loans to address this problem head-on.”
The tennis star also shared that her reasoning for investing in Esusu’s business model was encouraged by its potential to be a change-maker in the rental space for families in need of assistance and property owners.
“The tech-enabled model really creates win-win situations for stakeholders from renters to landlords,” she continued in her statement. “Our significant investment in Esusu will help the company scale and unlock more financial opportunity for people.”
Williams is no stranger to the investment world when it comes to supporting and uplifting companies that she admires. As previously reported by AfroTech, she joined a $5 million pre-Series A funding round for Bitcoin rewards company Lolli earlier this year in an effort to champion financial inclusivity and empowerment in her community and beyond.
She’s also found ways to give back to Black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs by committing sales proceeds from her jewelry line to Opportunity Fund’s Small Business Relief Fund. Her business-minded spirit has even rubbed off on her daughter who became the youngest sports owner of a new professional women’s soccer team at just two-years-old.