Celebrity net worth: Serena Williams builds on her $240m business empire.
In our fortnightly celebrity investment and wealth round-up, Scarlett Johansson joins a record-setting investment round and Akshay Kumar pays $1m for a Mumbai property
Serena Williams offered a rare insight into the struggles of managing several revenue streams last week.
“Got caught literally multitasking,” she posted to Instagram, captioning a video of herself switching between two different laptops while making notes on a sheet of paper in front of her. A coffee cup with the words “Best Mom Ever” hints at her other full-time job.
Williams has been off the tennis court since a hamstring injury in the first round of Wimbledon last year. However, that enforced absence has not slowed her finance game.
She earned a pre-tax total of $45.9 million last year as estimated by Forbes, which places her second on its list of the world’s top 10 highest-paid female athletes. Only $900,000 came from six on-court tournaments. The publication now estimates her net worth at $240m, an annual increase of $15m.
Over a 27-year career, Williams has earned twice as much as any other female athlete, pocketing more than $94m in prize money.
As her Instagram post indicates, Williams, 40, has a number of different revenue streams.
Crunchbase data indicates that she has invested in more than 40 companies through Serena Ventures. She founded the company in 2014 and tends to seek out early stage ventures in sport, health and technology.
Her investments include healthcare company Hued, education technology platform Fiveable, recipe start-up Foody and Indonesian coffee chain Kopi Kenangan, now considered one of the country’s unicorns.
Over the past month, Williams has backed at least two start-ups. A fortnight ago, Serena Ventures joined a $7m series A funding round in New York-based machine-learning messenger app Chatdesk, alongside Menlo Ventures, Harlem Capital, Stormbreaker Ventures, Fika Ventures and others.
In December, the company participated in a $4m seed round for Kiira, a technology-enabled healthcare provider that aims to address the needs of young multicultural women with a virtual care mobile app and personalized data-driven insights.
Williams is also a board member of Poshmark and SurveyMonkey’s parent, Momentive. This month, she signed on as board adviser to Sorare, the player-owned online fan site that combines non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with fantasy sports.
Founded in 2018, the company has increased its trading volume to $325m in 2021, from $7m in 2020, reaching more than one million users around the world with 230 partnering sports organisations, it said in a statement.
“NFTs have the potential to be a powerful tool for bringing equity and investment to women’s sports. I’m excited to start working alongside … the team because they understand the relationship between athletes and fans unlike anyone else in the category, and I believe Sorare will be setting the culture and tone of the future of sports entertainment,” Williams said.
Separately, she is also an early investor in NFT platform Bitski.
The tennis star has also exited three investments: body products company Billie, community spaces network The Wing and nutrition manufacturer Olly.
Williams, widely considered one of the greatest of all time tennis players with 23 Grand Slam titles and four Olympic gold medals, has endorsed brands such as Nike, Gatorade, Gucci, Audemars Piguet, Subway and, more recently, satellite service DirecTV.
As a fashion designer, Williams set up a direct-to-consumer clothing line, S by Serena, in 2018. Other investments include an estimated 0.5 per cent stake in the Miami Dolphins football team.
She is also a film and TV producer. With her sister Venus, she produced King Richard, a biographical film about their father, who was played by Will Smith. Last April, Williams agreed to a first-look TV deal with Amazon Studios, which includes a biographical documentary series on her life.
Williams also owns several multimillion-dollar homes in the US, including a $6.9m property in Beverly Hills, California, another in Miami, Florida, and an apartment in Paris, France.