Serena Williams Makes History as the First Athlete on Forbes’ Richest Self-Made List

Serena Williams has made history as the first athlete to make Forbes’ list of the World’s Richest Self-Made Women.

The magazine estimates estimates Williams’ net worth at $225 million, putting her at No. 80 on the list, which also includes celebrities like Oprah Winfrey (No. 10), Beyoncé Knowles (No. 51) and Kim Kardashian West (No. 57).

In addition to making $29 million in the last year – largely thanks to endorsement deals with Nike and JPMorgan Chase – Serena has invested in 34 startup companies over the last five years, Forbes reported. She also recently started Serena Ventures, which focuses on companies founded by women and people of color.

“I want to be a part of it,” she told Forbes. “I want to be in the infrastructure. I want to be the brand, instead of just being the face.” Serena has been “really leaning” on her husband, Alexis Ohanian, for support and mentorship, a fitting mentor since he’s the co-founder of Reddit. Forbes predicts Ohanian is worth $70 million.

Investments aside, Serena also launched her own clothing line S by Serena, featuring t-shirts, dresses, joggers, and outerwear, including the Boss Blazer worn by her close friend, Meghan Markle, which sold out immediately.

The only way to find enough of those companies right now is to nurture them early, something that Williams got hooked on after investing and losing (eventually) $250,000 in a startup in the years before Serena Ventures. “I learned you can’t overspend, but I also learned that I love seed investing,” she says. Of the 34 companies she’s backed through Serena Ventures, more than three quarters are early-stage.

“It’s fun to get in there. I don’t gamble. I don’t jump off buildings,” says Williams. “I’m the most non-taking-a-chance kind of a person, but I felt like seed was where we wanted to be.”

But of course, Williams is arguably the greatest tennis player ever, so that factors into her wealth as well. According to Forbes, her career $89 million prize money is twice as much as any other female athlete, and she is partnered with more than a dozen companies.

 

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