How Serena Williams Chooses Firms to Make investments In

Serena Williams has been an investor in early-stage corporations since she based San Francisco-based Serena Ventures in 2014. The enterprise capital agency already has a portfolio of 60 corporations together with SendWave, MasterClass, and Day by day Harvest, and in March 2022 raised a $111 million fund to spend money on underrepresented founders. 

On July 21, Williams, together with different entrepreneurs and traders, sat down with Candice Matthews Brackeen, founder and CEO of VC agency Lightship Capital, throughout Black Tech Week in Cincinnati to debate the sorts of corporations she’s curious about and the way founders can pitch her on their concepts. Listed below are some highlights.

Firms that immediately have an effect on individuals

Whereas Serena Ventures has invested in a variety of corporations, Williams says she is particularly curious about those who “have an effect on on a regular basis individuals in several varieties of the way,” akin to fintechs. She additionally expressed her affinity for corporations which can be positioned or do enterprise in Africa, and says she would love to reinforce her portfolio of African startups. “I am a giant believer in having Black individuals spend money on Africa,” Williams says. “That is actually essential to me.” 

Firms with the promise of progress

Initially, when Williams was investing along with her personal cash, she was much less involved concerning the danger concerned as a result of shedding it might have an effect on solely herself. Elevating a fund adjustments the equation, she says: An organization wants to indicate promise from the beginning, and if it would not it is possible not definitely worth the danger. “I have a look at the corporate, and the very first thing I ask is ‘Does it match our thesis?'” she says. “And second of all, ‘Does it work? Is that this going to be sufficiently big for me?'”

Getting in contact

Williams acknowledges that it isn’t straightforward to get in contact with VCs. As with different companies the traders at Serena Ventures rely on introductions from individuals they know, however, Williams says, in addition they have a extra open strategy. The fund has an e mail tackle on its web site that is regularly monitored by individuals on the agency. Williams acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of those that e mail get rejected, however notes that it is value attempting, and that founders ought to ship no less than three emails if they do not get a response. Plus, a rejection would not essentially imply she’s unwilling to assist. “Perhaps we do not spend money on them, however we wish to assist them nonetheless,” she says. “And generally one of the simplest ways to assist is definitely not investing.”

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