Venus Williams Sees the Bigger Picture

The tennis legend is all about that business equity

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January 30, 2019

Over a 21-year career in pro tennis, Venus Williams has made about $41M in prize money. And, across that career, she's put that money to work, founding an apparel line called EleVen and an interior design company called VStarr Interiors. (VStarr recently announced a business venture with AirBNB partner Niido). She's also become an active angel investor. Venus—whose younger sister, Serena, also appears on our 30 Most Entrepreneurial Athletes list—also utilizes her prominent position in the sport to be an agent of change, best evidenced by her successful 2013 campaign to secure pay equality at Wimbledon. (Ava DuVernay made a doc about this effort for ESPN called "Venus Vs.")

Williams has also invested in a way befitting her beliefs in social change. She seeded a robo-investing application called ElleVest in 2017, a company with a mission centered on serving female investors. With her capital, she's also been able to get in on some of the sports world's most tried and true moneymakers. Alongside her sister, Venus has equity in the Miami Dolphins and UFC, the MMA league that recently secured a $1.5B commitment from Disney and is still growing, financially and culturally.

 

Venus rounds out her portfolio with real estate in Florida and California, as well as long-term endorsement deals with American Express, Systane and many others. While Williams' portfolio might scan as more conservative than other members of the 30 Most Entrepreneurial Athletes, Venus is serving her fans a look at where the smart money goes, while also exploring ways to further social causes that are important to her. The Williams sisters' legacy continues to extend far beyond tennis—through her entrepreneurship, Venus has her hands in the future of sports culture.

 

This piece is part of our monthlong series featuring the 30 Most Entrepreneurial Athletes. For other entries in the series, head to our 30MEA page.

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