How Serena Williams will expand $260M fortune after tennis retirement

From queen of the courts to boss of the boardroom! How Serena Williams will continue to expand her $260 MILLION fortune through lucrative brand partnerships, a fashion line, TV deal – and growing venture capital firm she founded in 2014

  • Williams, 40, has a net worth of $260 million, but the prize money she has earned as a professional tennis player accounts for less than half of her wealth 
  • She took home $45.9 million before taxes in 2021 thanks to her corporate partnerships, brands, investments, and creative projects 
  • Only $0.9 million of that sum came from her time on the court, but that doesn’t mean the fortune she has made from tennis is anything to scoff at
  • The 23-time Grand Slam winner has earned more prize money than any other female tennis player, and her winnings currently stand at $94.5 million
  • Williams announced her upcoming retirement in Vogue’s September issue, but she has plenty to keep her busy when she steps off the court for the last time  
  • The athlete currently has over a dozen brand partnerships, her own fashion and jewelry lines, and a venture capital firm, Serena Ventures 
  • Williams will also be working on scripted and unscripted television projects for her first-look TV deal with Amazon Studios and has a children’s book coming out

Serena Williams has announced that she is retiring from tennis after the U.S. Open, but the sports legend has more than enough business ventures to keep her busy — and wealthy — after she steps off the court for the last time.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner has a net worth of $260 million, according to Forbes, but the prize money she has earned as a professional tennis player accounts for less than half of her wealth. 

Williams, 40, took home $45.9 million before taxes in 2021 thanks to her corporate partnerships, brands, investments, and creative projects, including the Oscar-winning film King Richard, which she executive produced.   

Only $0.9 million of that sum came from her time on the court, but that doesn’t mean the fortune she has made from tennis is anything to scoff at. The athlete’s current earnings from prize money stand at $94.5 million — more than any other female tennis player in history — according to the Women’s Tennis Association. 

Serena Williams, 40, announced in the September issue of Vogue that she is retiring from tennis sometime after U.S. Open this year 

The 23-time Grand Slam winner (pictured after winning the Australian Open in 2017) has earned $94.5 million in prize month over the years, more than any other female tennis player

Williams was knocked out of the first round at Wimbledon in June (pictured), but she still took home $61,000 for playing. The athlete has a net worth of $260 million

Williams has made more than double the second highest earner, her sister Venus Williams, whose career total is $42.2 million. Her tennis earnings will get another bump if she plays in the U.S. Open in September as planned.

When she made her singles tennis return at Wimbledon in June, she was knocked out of the first round by France’s Harmony Tan, but she still made $61,000 in prize money that day. 

Williams announced her upcoming retirement in the September issue of Vogue, sharing that she and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, are trying to have another child. Their four-year-old daughter, Olympia, has been praying for a baby sister.  

She noted that she does not want to be pregnant again as an athlete, and her focus has been ‘slowly shifting toward Serena Ventures,’ her venture capital firm.

In honor of the tennis champ’s retirement news, FEMAIL has rounded up the business ventures that will be keeping Williams rich long after she leaves the sport that has made her a household name. 

LUCRATIVE PARTNERSHIPS 

Puma gave Williams her first endorsement deal, and she was wearing a yellow tennis dress from the brand when she won her first Grand Slam singles title at the U.S. Open in 1999 

Williams (pictured at the U.S. Open in 2002) earned a reported $13 million from Puma while raising her fashion profile by wearing custom-designed tennis outfits from the sports brand

The tennis star (pictured in 2018) left Puma in December 2003 after scoring a reported $55 million deal with Nike. She has been with the sportswear brand for the past 18 years 

Williams may be best known for her 18-year partnership with Nike, but it was actually Puma that gave the tennis star her first endorsement deal early on in her career, turning her into a fashion icon. 

She was just 14 years old when she went pro in 1995. Two years later, she was approached by Puma, and the partnership was officially announced in 1998 following five months of negotiations, according to Andscape. 

At the time, she was the No. 41-ranked women’s singles player in the world. 

Williams earned a reported $13 million from Puma in the first five years of her career while raising her fashion profile by wearing custom-designed tennis outfits from the sports brand. 

Williams has had dozens of corporate partnerships over the years, and Gatorade is one of the brands she currently represents

Williams was featured in a late-night talk show inspired campaign for Gucci last year 

Williams also works with Ubrelvy, a medication she takes to treat her migraines 

‘I wanted a sponsor. I wanted someone to believe in me,’ she wrote in her autobiography On The Line. ‘It wasn’t just Puma taking a chance on me. It was me taking a chance on Puma. It cut both ways.’ 

Williams was wearing a yellow Puma tennis dress when she won her the U.S. Open in 1999 — her first Grand Slam singles title — after upsetting world No. 1 Martina Hingis. 

She won a total of six Grand Slam titles while representing Puma, but she left the brand in December 2003 for Nike. The eight-year endorsement deal was reported to be worth $55 million. The icon has been working with the brand ever since. 

Williams has had dozens of brand partnerships over the years, ranging from fashion and luxury labels to deodorant and migraine medication.  

She currently has deals with Audemars Piguet, Away, Beats by Dre, Berlei, Bumble, Gatorade, Gucci, Lincoln, Michelob Ultra, Mission, Nike, Nintendo, Secret, Stuart Weitzman, Ubrelvy, and Wilson, according to her website. 

FASHION AND JEWELRY LINES 

Williams studied fashion design and created clothing lines for the Home Shopping Network (HSN) before  launching her own independent fashion company, S by Serena (pictured) 

Williams has long had the support of Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, who moderated a discussion with her at her S by Serena New York Fashion Week presentation in February 2020 

Williams’s unconventional Spring 2020 show featured a diverse cast of models who all posed for pictures with her after the presentation 

For Williams, tennis and fashion have always gone hand in hand. 

She and her sister Venus both attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale to study fashion design in the early 2000s while keeping up with the demands of their professional tennis careers. 

‘We’re designers and we really know how to handle fabrics and how to actually construct things and how to do things from literal experience and going through those tough moments in order to create stuff,’ she said of fashion school. 

In 2003, Williams launched her now-defunct clothing line Aneres — Serena spelled backward. She later went on to have a collection with the Home Shopping Network (HSN). 

The Grand Slam winner had the support of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who sat in the front row when she showed her HSN line at New York Fashion Week in 2014. 

In 2019, the tennis legend debuted her first Serena Williams Jewelry collection, which ranged in price from $299 to $10,000

Williams’s pal Meghan Markle was spotted wearing her starburst stud earrings to the Invictus Games earlier this year

Four years later, Williams launched her own independent and sustainable fashion company, S by Serena, something she felt she was ready to do. 

‘I just needed to do it on my own. Because when you invest in yourself, it helps your confidence, and you’ll know forever that whether you make it or not, you stepped up to the plate,’ she told Good Morning America. 

In 2019, she debuted her first Serena Williams Jewelry collection, which ranged in price from $299 to $10,000. 

Williams is her own best spokesperson, and she often shares photos of herself modeling pieces from her clothing and jewelry lines on Instagram. However, her royal pal Meghan Markle is just as supportive. 

The Duchess of Sussex was spotted wearing the athlete’s starburst stud earrings to the Invictus Games earlier this year. 

BUSINESS VENTURES AND INVESTMENTS 

Williams (pictured at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscar party ) has invested in more than 60 startups since she launched her firm, Serena Ventures, in 2014

The digital gym startup Tonal is one of the 16 unicorn companies valued at more than $1 billion that Serena Ventures has funded

Williams started investing nine years ago, and she has invested in more than 60 startups since she launched her firm, Serena Ventures, in 2014. 

In her cover story for Vogue, she explained that she was driven to do more after watching a talk between Jamie Dimon and Caryn Seidman-Becker, the CEO of the security company Clear, at a conference organized by JPMorgan Chase. 

‘Caryn explained that less than 2 percent of all [venture capital] money went to women. I figured that she misspoke. I thought, “There’s no way that 98 percent of that capital is going to men.” I approached her afterward, and she confirmed it,’ Williams recalled.

‘I kind of understood then and there that someone who looks like me needs to start writing the big checks. Sometimes like attracts like,’ she explained. ‘Men are writing those big checks to one another, and in order for us to change that, more people who look like me need to be in that position, giving money back to themselves.’

Williams described Serena Ventures as being a ‘small but growing firm of six people’ who are based in Texas, California, and Florida, where she mainly lives. The firm is focused on funding startups founded by women, people of color, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. 

Williams’s husband, Reddi co-founder Alexis Ohanian, has his own venture firm, Seven Seven Six, but they make a point to keep their business dealings separate

Williams also owns a small stake in the Miami Dolphins (pictured playing the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020) 

‘Seventy-​eight percent of our portfolio happens to be companies started by women and people of color, because that’s who we are,’ she told Vogue. ‘On the other hand, my husband is white, and it’s important to me to be inclusive of everyone. Serena Ventures has been an all-female business until recently, when we brought in our first guy — a diversity hire!’

Williams said she is excited to wake up every morning and review decks of companies she and her team are considering investing in.  

‘I wrote one of the very first checks for MasterClass,’ she noted. 

MasterClass, Tonal, Impossible Foods, Noom, and Esusu are among the 16 unicorn companies valued at more than $1 billion that Serena Ventures has funded. 

In March 2022, Williams announced that Serena Ventures had raised $111 million in outside financing. Her husband, Alexis, has his own venture firm, Seven Seven Six, but they make a point to keep their business dealings separate. 

‘Obviously, there are things that come up, where we talk about business at home — but we try to keep our businesses as separate as they can be,’ Williams told CNBC’s Squawk Box earlier this year.  

Williams also owns a small stake in the Miami Dolphins, serves as an advisor for the NFT company Sorare, and is on the board of SurveyMonkey’s parent company, Momentive, according to Forbes. 

BOOKS AND FILM 


William and her sister Venus Williams co-wrote their 2005 teen advice book, Venus and Serena: Serving from the Hip: 10 Rules for Living, Loving, and Winning, with Hilary Beard (left). Four years later, she published her 2009 autobiography, On the Line (right) 

has an upcoming children’s book that was inspired by her daughter four-year-old daughter, Olympia, and her beloved doll Qai Qai, who has her own Instagram account

The Adventures of Qai Qai by Williams and Yesenia Moises is slated for release in September

Williams has had a number of creative ventures in both publishing and film over the years in addition to her fashion and jewelry lines. 

Early on in her career, she and her sister Venus co-wrote their 2005 teen advice book, Venus and Serena: Serving from the Hip: 10 Rules for Living, Loving, and Winning, with Hilary Beard. 

Four years later, Williams published her 2009 autobiography, On the Line, which was co-written with Daniel Paisner. 

The tennis star has an upcoming children’s book that was inspired by her daughter, Olympia, and her beloved doll Qai Qai, who has her own Instagram account.  

The Adventures of Qai Qai by Williams and Yesenia Moises is slated for release in September 2022. 

Williams chronicled her return to professional tennis following the birth of her daughter in the five-part HBO sports docuseries Being Serena, which premiered in 2018

Williams executive produce the 2021 Oscar-winning film King Richard. She is pictured with her family at the film’s premiere in November of that year 

Williams will also be working on scripted and unscripted television projects for her first-look TV deal with Amazon Studios

Williams has also made her mark in television and film in recent years.  

She chronicled her return to professional tennis following the birth of her daughter in the five-part HBO sports docuseries Being Serena, which premiered in 2018. 

The entrepreneur went on to executive produce the 2021 Oscar-winning film King Richard, which focuses on how her father put her and her sister Venus on the path to tennis greatness. 

Just months prior to the release of the movie, it was announced that Williams had landed a first-look TV deal with Amazon Studios.

She will be working on scripted and unscripted television projects that will debut exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, Deadline reported. 

Williams already has an untitled docuseries in the works for Amazon Studios that will follow her professional and personal life, according to the outlet. 

‘I’m very excited to be partnering with Amazon Studios — they are developing some of the most inspiring and important content for a global audience. I have a lot of stories I’m eager to tell, including a continuation of my own, and I look forward to sharing those with the world,’ she said in a statement. 

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