Mindfulness is growing in popularity, and pop star Selena Gomez has co-founded a startup called Wondermind. The company is raising money at a valuation of $100M.
Tennis legend and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams participated in the early funding of Wondermind, along with Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, and the company’s three co-founders: Mandy Teefey, Daniella Pierson, and Selena Gomez. The venture was founded by Gomez, Teefey, and Pierson, who also enlisted the help of Brent Saunders, the ex-CEO of pharmaceutical company Allergan.
Through daily content, entertainment that makes you think, and tools to help mental health stigmas, the platform hopes to make mental health more accepted globally. The platform is estimated to be worth $100M.
Last year, the mental health industry made $5.5 billion, more than doubling its value from 2020.
This week, Williams announced that she is retiring from tennis to focus on her family, and her venture capital company, Serena Ventures.
In a Vogue article, Safin says that she is moving away from tennis, and towards other things that are important to her. She says that unlike tennis, raising her daughter Olympia has never felt like a sacrifice. These days, if there is a choice between improving her tennis career and raising her family, she chooses the latter.
Serena Williams’ resume
Williams has an unmatched career history that began when she was just 5 years old. When she was 17 in 1999, she won her first Grand Slam singles match. Together with her sister Venus, Williams also has won 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles matches. Williams is 41 years old next month and still competing in tennis tournaments. Ranked number one in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association, Williams won a gold medal in tennis for singles at the Olympics in 2012, along with her sister Venus. The siblings also won three gold medals in doubles play.
In a post on her Instagram account, Williams indicated that she might be retiring after the US Open, which is scheduled to take place in Queens, New York, later this month. She did not give a specific date for when she will retire, but she did say that she is looking forward to the upcoming weeks.
In her article in Vogue, she wrote about shifting her focus to Serena Ventures. She is excited every morning to go into her office and start reviewing business plans on Zooms, she said.
Williams claims that she started making her first investments nearly ten years ago, and she has thoroughly enjoyed seed and pre-seed investing. Among the first investments she made was in MasterClass, an online education subscription platform, along with Tonal and Impossible Foods and French company Sorare. One of the 16 unicorns her firm has invested in.
Serena Ventures is made of six people, and has funded over 55 companies to date. The majority of the companies in their portfolio are owned by women and people of color, and share traits with things Williams was involved in before, such as health and sportsiness. In 2022, Serena Ventures is projected to have raised $111M in outside investment.
Caryn Seidman-Becker, CEO of Clear Secure, told her that women only get 2% of venture capital funding, said Sheryl Sandberg, Meta COO, Billie Jean King, and other strong female role models.
Williams understood immediately that men who look like him should be writing the big checks, and started doing so himself. He explained this in a blog post, saying, “Like sometimes I draw the line of like, ya know, I gotta start writing some bigger checks myself, in order for us to change the fact that most men are giving each other their money back.
Williams has a stake in several high-value companies, including Impossible Foods, Tonal, and MasterClass. 16 of the companies in which her fund has invested are valued at over $1 billion, including the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the women’s NWSL Angel City FC.