Serena Williams backs credit-building fintech Esusu for renters

Esusu receives an undisclosed amount from Serena Williams' venture capital firm in the start-up's first funding round

Serena Williams may not be playing much tennis this summer, but she is still keeping busy.

The tennis superstar recently announced she is investing in fintech start-up Esusu, as reported by CNBC.

According to the company’s webpage, Esusu “automates your credit building by reporting your monthly rent payments to credit bureaus, boosting your credit score one rent payment at a time.”

By doing so, the business aims to help people create and build their credit history and ratings.

Designer Serena Williams speaks at the S By Serena Presentation during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Spring Place on February 12, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Williams did not disclose the amount that was being invested, but the capital derives from her venture capital company, Serena Ventures.

“I started Serena Ventures to invest in diverse founders and early-stage companies that outperform and generate impact, while at the same time empowering others and creating opportunities,” Williams told CNBC. “Esusu is definitely one of those companies.”

Williams expressed the importance of helping people to build their credit scores.

“More than 40 million people across the United States, you know, they don’t have a credit score,” she said, continuing that people often get “shut out of critical financial opportunities.”

As per a 2020 report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 45 million Americans do not have a credit score. Esusu founders Abbey Wemimo and Samir Goel say they were inspired to create the company when their families had hardships building credit as immigrants.

“When my folks moved here, our journey to pursue the American dream was just harder than it should have been,” Goel told CNBC. “I remember just watching my parents work miracles with no credit and limited financial resources. Abbey and I like to say we are inspired by our experiences.”

Williams launched Serena Ventures in 2014 in an effort to raise and provide capital for start-ups. The official website states that “Serena Ventures invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.”

United States Serena Williams plays a return to Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina during their fourth round match on day 8, of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, Sunday, June 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Other companies that Serena Ventures has invested in include cryptocurrency portfolio tracking site CoinTracker, cosmetics microtreatment company Alchemy43 and HoneyLove, a form-fitting fashion company for women of all body types.

In addition to Williams’ contribution, Yahoo Finance reports that Esusu raised a total of $10 million in a Series A funding earlier this week that was led by Motley Fool Ventures. With additional investments from The Equity Alliance, Global Impact Fund and others, Esusu has raised a total of $14 million.

“Esusu is an excellent example of an innovative fintech company leveraging technology to deliver scalable and much-needed financial solutions for underserved populations,” said Ollen Douglass, managing director of Motley Fool Ventures, as reported by the financial news site. “From reliable rent reporting to zero-interest housing stability funds, their inclusive credit–building offerings can unlock access to credit for low-to-medium income households across the country.”

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