In August 2022 a tearful Serena Williams announced that she would be retiring, penning an essay for Vogue Magazine indicating her desire to spend more time with her family and concentrate on her business ventures. She started her essay with an emotional anecdote about her daughter, Olympia, who is now aged five. According to the tennis tar, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, Olympia answered, “A big sister,” a moment Williams said she had to pay attention to. However, at a recent conference (TechCrunch Disrupt) for startup companies, she revealed that she was “not retired,” announcing that her chances of returning to the sport were “very high.” The news excited fans who are not ready to say goodbye to the woman who, for most tennis buffs, is the greatest female tennis star that ever lived.
Serena Shares Her Thoughts with TechCrunch Editor-in-Chief
At the TechCrunch Disrupt, Serena sat with Editor-in-Chief Jordan Crook, stating that after writing her now-famous essay, she threw herself into Serena Ventures. She said that she had recently walked onto a court and felt the freedom of “being on a court and not playing for competition.” It felt wonderful, but also strange, she said, acknowledging that she was still striving to find the perfect state of balance. When told that she sounded on the fence about retirement during the US Open, Serena answered that there was still a good chance of her returning to competition. Serena has always been an enigma, and her comment has thrown her fans for a loop.
Serena the Businesswoman
Serena now spends most of her professional time on the venture capital firm she discreetly founded eight years ago: Serena Ventures. It is one of a small number of VC firms owned by Black women, but it promises to spearhead an era of change for diversity in the industry. Serena founded her firm after discovering (at a J.P. Morgan Chase conference) that less than 2% of all venture capital money went to women. She wrote, “Sometimes like attracts like. Men are writing those big checks to one another, and in order for us to change that, more people who look like me need to be in that position, giving money back to themselves.” Over half of all the companies in Serena Ventures’ investment portfolio are founded by women. Some 47% have Black founders and 12% comprise Latino founders. The VC firm has officially invested in over 60 startups, announcing in March 2022 that it had raised $11 million.
Serena has various other professional projects keeping her busy; one of them being her modern fashion brand that celebrates strength, sophistication, and style. The brand is on trend, with many dresses, tops, and bottoms boasting similar inspirations to those found in contemporary lingerie. Serena has taken her inspiration from co-entrepreneurs like Kim Kardashian, who have emphasized the importance of comfortable underwear and shapewear that comes in a wide array of nude shades and that is made to fit all sizes. Fitting silhouettes and soft and stretchy fabrics are present in a host of outfits, ranging from bodysuits to dresses. These items can be worn alone or paired with jackets, cover-ups, sarongs, and similar. Top-selling brands are taking diversity and inclusion into the picture, with items for all body shapes and skin tones.
Investing in Sport
Serena additionally invests in sports, having invested some $75 million in the UFC. She is also a minority owner of the Miami Dolphins. Creativity is important to Serena, as is evident in the fact that she has written a children’s book to provide inspiration to little ones across the globe. She is also a keen social activist, supporting the LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, and Brilliant Black Minds Program, founded by interviewing company, Karat.
Serena Williams has given hope to fans who dream of her return. She stated that her chances of returning to tennis are “very high.” However, she is also a busy mom, wife, and venture capitalist, as well as an entrepreneur and social activist with plenty of heart.