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Serena Williams Invests $5M Into Selena Gomez's Wondermind As The Multimedia Company Reportedly Hits $100M Valuation

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.

Aug 11, 2022

Zigazoo, A Serena Williams-Backed Social Network For Children, Secures The NBA As An Investor In $17M Raise

Safe spaces for people to be vulnerable and transparent are not just for adults. Children also need these type of spaces to cultivate their growth and maturity. In 2020, Zak and Leah Ringelstein created one of those spaces for children by founding Zigazoo, a Serena Williams-backed startup.

Jul 1, 2022

Women-Led Startup Using AI To Provide Buyers With Wig Customization Receives Backing From Serena Ventures

After raising $5 million in funding, Parfait is on its way to disrupting the wig industry with the help of technology. The women-led startup is said to be the first to integrate facial recognition and artificial intelligence to provide buyers with customizable wig products. According to a press release sent to AfroTech, the seed round was spearheaded by Upfront Ventures and Serena Ventures. Ulu Ventures, Unshackled Ventures, Contrary Capital, Visible Hands, TRUE Capital’s Culture Fund, Omar Johnson, Chamillionaire, Tristan Walker, and Upland Workshop participated in the round. “Parfait’s mission to leverage Al to solve core issues for both the tech industry and communities of color is something we, at Serena Ventures, have believed in since the beginning,” said Serena Williams, Managing Partner at Serena Ventures, in a statement. “She went on to say “It’s been inspiring to witness their incredible achievements so far, and we’re proud to invest in this next phase of Parfait’s...

Apr 11, 2022

'Even I Am Overlooked' — Serena Williams Blasts The NYTimes For Using A Photo Of Venus In A Story About Her

Not even Serena Williams is safe from shady behavior from the media. In a tweet posted yesterday, the tennis GOAT revealed that the print version of The New York Times overshadowed her latest success by printing a photo of her sister, Venus, instead of herself. “No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it’s not enough,” she wrote via Twitter. “This is why I raised $111M for @serenaventures. To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked.” No matter how far we come, we get reminded that it's not enough. This is why I raised $111M for @serenaventures . To support the founders who are overlooked by engrained systems woefully unaware of their biases. Because even I am overlooked. You can do better, @nytimes . — Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) March 2, 2022 The New York Times, like many other outlets, was announcing Serena Ventures’ inaugural fund. And while the paper’s...

Serena Williams' Serena Ventures Announces Its Inaugural $111M Fund 'For The Next Generation Of Champions'

Serena Ventures, led by the one and only Serena Williams, has announced the raise of its inaugural $111 million fund. In a blog post and press release announcement, it was revealed that the fund will be used to power early-stage startups. Williams’ past success consists of 13 unicorns and six exits, plus nine years of experience in the investment world. With that said, it makes sense why Serena Ventures is continuing her commitment to growing additional companies. 23andMe, the DNA company which is a limited partner in the venture capital fund, released a statement expressing its excitement about what the future holds. “I have been so impressed with Serena Ventures and the extraordinary mentorship and support they provide entrepreneurs,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO & Co-Founder of 23andMe. “Serena has built an exceptional team of diverse experts with branding expertise and strategic advice to help founders as they navigate building their companies. With unique backgrounds and...

Chatdesk Plans To Grow Its Team Thanks To Raising A $7M Series A Funding Round

Chatdesk continues to soar to new heights! Just after the customer support tool finished a year of extraordinary revenue growth, Chatdesk — co-founded by Andrew Olaleye and Aneto Okonkwo — has announced the raise of a $7 million Series A funding round. Thanks to the new funding, the company plans to continue improving customer success and grow the team while creating more jobs in the process. “We’re grateful to our customers and will use the funds to grow our team, help more brands and create even more jobs,” said Chatdesk Co-Founder and CEO Aneto Okonkwo in an official press release shared with AfroTech.

Jan 19, 2022

Exclusive: Michael B. Jordan, Serena Ventures, MaC Venture Capital Partner To Give HBCU-Bred Founders A Chance To Win $1M

Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic — a college basketball showcase — is bringing Historically Black College and University (HBCU) culture to television screens across the nation. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Invesco US (@invescous) Airing on Dec. 18, the TNT broadcast will feature a doubleheader competition of Hampton University versus North Carolina Central University and Howard University versus North Carolina A&T University. The inaugural Legacy Classic is set to bring viewers into a full-blown HBCU experience, and now, the event is also creating opportunities for current HBCU students and alumni. According to a press release provided exclusively to AfroTech, the Invesco QQQ Legacy Classic has partnered with MaC Venture Capital and Serena Ventures — tennis legend Serena Williams’ investment firm — to create a Startup Pitch Competition for HBCU founders. “At MaC we like to say that talent is ubiquitous but access to opportunity is not,” MaC Venture Capital General Partner...

Oct 18, 2021

Serena Williams, Black Founders Matter Invest In Black Woman-Owned Healthcare Startup HUED

Black woman-owned healthcare startup HUED is getting plenty of community support to bet on its revolutionary mission in the health industry. According to CNBC Make It, HUED — a company that aims to diversify patient-physician experiences with culturally competent providers — has announced the raise of $1.6 million in seed funding that will be used to help address the racial disparities in health plaguing communities of color. Among its investors includes Serena Williams’ venture capital fund Serena Ventures, Black Founders Matter, Female Founders Fund, Osage Venture Partners, Northwestern Mutual, Gingerbread Capital, angel investor and health industry leader, Halle Tecco and others. The idea behind the digital health company — which was founded by ESSENCE senior editor Kimberly Wilson in 2018 — was inspired by Wilson’s own personal experience with the healthcare system after she received an improper fibroid diagnosis in 2017, CNBC Make It reports. With issues of bias and...

Aug 10, 2021

Serena Williams Is The First Athlete To Make Forbes' Richest Self-Made Women List in America

Serena Williams just added another title to her long list of wins. She’s now making history as the first athlete to appear on Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women List in America. You may have heard about the list before — Kylie Jenner was named on the list last year, causing many to question Forbes’ definition of “self-made.” This year, Williams is on the list after securing multiple partnerships, investing in tech companies, starting her own venture capital firm and joining the board of some growing startup companies. Williams announced her VC firm Serena Ventures in April, quietly funding over 30 companies led by women and underrepresented groups since 2014. The companies range across the beauty, food, and retail industries. “I launched Serena Ventures with the mission of giving opportunities to founders across an array of industries,” Williams said in an Instagram post.  “Serena Ventures invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and...

Jun 4, 2019

Serena Williams Reveals Her VC Firm Funding Women and Underrepresented Founders

There isn’t much that Serena Williams can’t do. Not only has she been making major moves on the tennis court, but she’s quietly built an impressive tech portfolio. Recently, Williams decided to finally reveal her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures. “I launched Serena Ventures with the mission of giving opportunities to founders across an array of industries,” Williams said in an Instagram post.  “Serena Ventures invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.” Serena Ventures was originally founded in 2014 and has quietly funded over 30 companies led by women and underrepresented groups. The companies range across the beauty, food and retail industries. Mayvenn Hair , an online hair extension company, and women-focused co-working space, The Wing , are on the list of Serena Ventures-funded companies. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) In December, The Wing closed a $75 million...

Apr 19, 2019