Serena's tennis retirement: What does it mean for beauty start-ups?

By Julia Wray | Published: 10-Aug-2022

With 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams poised to focus on her VC firm, Serena Ventures, we look at the beauty and wellness brands that have already benefitted from investment from the tennis GOAT

Serena Williams has announced her retirement from tennis.

In a Vogue feature, published yesterday, the 23-time Grand Slam winner said she would instead be focusing on her family and her venture capital firm.

Williams’ Serena Ventures specialises in supporting start-ups with underrepresented founders and has, so far, invested in nearly 60 businesses.

Earlier this year, Williams announced Serena Ventures had raised US$111m in an inaugural funding round.

Covering sectors from sports influencers to premarital counselling, Williams’ firm has also benefitted several beauty companies.

Here is a run-down of the beauty and wellness companies who’ve received Fund 1 or angel investment from Serena Ventures:

  • Parfait (Fund 1): Co-founded by Isoken Igbinedion, Ifueko Igbinedion, Marlyse Reeves and Simone Kendle, Parfait Tailored Hair allows consumers to browse for and tailor wigs, letting them custom options including cap size, lace tint, colour, wig type, texture, length, cut and part style.
  • Wile (Fund 1): Developed for women over 40, Wile offers hormonal wellness supplements, tinctures and adaptogenic drinks to help consumers navigate the perimenopause and signals associated with ageing.
  • Billie (angel): Razor brand Billie was founded in response to the ‘pink tax’ on women-specific hair shaving products.
  • Olly (angel): Nutraceuticals brand Olly is committed to squashing the stigma of mental health via partnerships with the likes of JED Partnership to bring mental health services to high schools.
  • Naza (angel): Naza is a protective styling salon specialising in coily, kinky, afro-textured hair. It is also working to change the dynamic between who gets to make, review and sell products catering to black women, and, so far, boasts 10,000 Naza Lab members.
  • Myro (angel): This body care brand offers sustainable, refillable deodorants and body washes. To date, its customers have saved over 30 metric tons of plastic waste.
  • Mayvenn (angel): Mayvenn lets consumers ‘buy the hair’ while it covers the install. The customer can pick their dream look, select a Mayvenn-certified salon and schedule an appointment.
  • Alchemy 43 (angel): This aesthetics bar specialises in personalised cosmetic microtreatments.

Serena Ventures has also invested in companies offering services relevant to the beauty industry.

These companies are:

  • Pachama (Fund 1): Pachama harnesses remote sensing and AI to capture carbon and protect forests; aligned companies receive guidance on carbon markets, tailored project portfolios and data.
  • ShoppingGives (Fund 1): A solution for e-commerce and D2C brands to seamlessly let their customers create positive impacts with their purchases via donations.
  • Lolli (Fund 1): Lets consumers earn rewards at more than 1,000 stores, with up to 30% back in bitcoin or cash.
  • Calico (Fund 1): Calico helps D2C consumer brands run their supply chains.
  • Freeing Returns (Fund 1): This SaaS platforms lets retailers uncover the fraudsters and organised crime rings hiding in their data.

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