Yes, you read that right. Serena Williams, widely recognized as the greatest of all time (GOAT) to ever step onto a tennis court — or any other playing field — will join us onstage at TC Disrupt on October 18–20.
Williams joins us in her role as founding and managing partner of Serena Ventures (SV), the VC firm she founded in 2014. We’re also thrilled that Alison Rapaport Stillman, the firm’s founding general partner, will also take part in this fireside chat.
This year, following nine years of angel investing, SV announced it raised a $111 million inaugural fund focused on founders with “unconventional thinking and diverse points of view.”
Building off the success of 13 unicorns and six exits in Serena’s angel investments (including Billie, CoinTracker, Daily Harvest, Impossible Foods and MasterClass) the firm has since invested in startups across a variety of industries. The Serena Ventures portfolio currently consists of over 20 companies ranging from fintech for underbanked to health and wellness for aging populations, and beyond. Its website notes that 76% of the startups that received Fund 1 investments are helmed by underrepresented founders.
Case in point: SV recently cut a $5 million check leading an early-stage round for Wondermind, Selena Gomez’s mental health startup. That investment made Gomez one of only a few Latinas to raise more than $1 million in VC funding.
We look forward to learning what Serena Williams looks for in a founder and to gaining a better understanding of her investment thesis. We’re also curious to hear her take on what she brings to the VC table and what overarching goals she’s setting as she turns her GOAT status and champion mindset to expanding her career as a venture capitalist.
As a world-class athlete, businesswoman, philanthropist and mother, Serena Williams knows what it takes to win. She has persevered to become one of the top tennis players in history with 23 Grand Slam titles. Williams began actively investing nine years ago when she saw the impact that startups had on everyday lives; in building Serena Ventures, she has been able to multiply that effort with more than $110 million in investment capital.
Alison Rapaport Stillman is a founding general partner at Serena Ventures, overseeing portfolio management and sourcing new investments. In addition to growing the reach and impact of the SV portfolio, Stillman is the person founders turn to when they need pointed advice, detailed feedback and tough love. She holds a BS from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an MBA from Harvard Business School. She is a CFA charter holder.
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