Pro tennis superstar Serena Williams has joined Bumble, a social networking platform targeted at women, as an investor.
Williams, already a Global Advisor of the site that boasts more than 50 million users worldwide, first debuted her affiliation with the company in the Super Bowl ad #InHerCourt. In addition to her new role as investor, Williams also joins the Bumble Fund as an active member. The fund launched last year to concentrate on early-stage business investments, particularly for businesses founded and led by women of color and other underrepresented demographics.
“In my life, and today more than ever, I’ve learned how impactful one woman’s voice can be when given a platform to speak and be heard,” Williams said in a company press release. “I am passionate about building on this progress and opening doors for women of all backgrounds, especially women of color, to share their message and trust in their potential to accomplish great things. By joining forces with the Bumble Fund, we will continue amplifying female entrepreneurs and creating a place for them to personally and professionally champion their growth.”
Since 2014, through her own Serena Ventures initiative, the tennis great has invested in over 30 women and minority-owned businesses.
In April, she will lead the Bumble Fund pitch competition with Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd. Interested entrepreneurs should download the Bumble app because the pitch competition launches today on Bumble Bizz within the app. The competition is open to all entrepreneurs “with a United States entity who identify as women, prioritizing those with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives,” according to the company announcement. The submission process runs until March 27.
The partnership with Williams just made sense, according to Bumble founder, Wolfe Herd.
“When we launched our #InHerCourt campaign with Serena Williams this past January, we were amazed by the overwhelming response we received from women globally who felt empowered by our message,” said Herd, in the company announcement. “In teaming up with Serena for the Bumble Fund, we want women everywhere to know that we are here, we are listening and we believe in you. We are giving women more keys to success, while encouraging them to push their ideas forward and keep thinking big when it comes to their business ventures.”
The Bumble Fund, which recently announced investments in Alice, Gixo, Translator and Promise, focuses on early-stage investments, has made 9 investments to date. In the pitch competition, Wolfe Herd and Williams plan to choose two to three new investments for businesses, investing between $50,000 to $100,000 per company.