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Selena Gomez’s mental health startup Wondermind raises $5M led by Serena Ventures

wondermind

Wondermind, a startup co-founded by pop star Selena Gomez, is raising money at a valuation of $100M in an effort to take advantage of the growing mindfulness trend.

Wondermind, which was founded by Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey, and Daniella Pierson, received early-stage funding from tennis icon and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams’ VC fund Serena Ventures. Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners were among the participating investors. Additionally, Brent Saunders, the former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Allergan, took part.

The platform, which is estimated to be worth $100M, wants to increase the effectiveness of its initiatives to “democratise and destigmatize mental health globally through daily editorial content, thought-provoking entertainment, and practical tools.”

According to CB Insights, the mental health industry generated $5.5B last year, more than doubling its value from 2020.

Williams recently announced her retirement this week from the sport to focus on family—and her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.

She stated in an article for Vogue that “I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.” She claims that unlike tennis, raising her daughter Olympia has never felt like a sacrifice. Nowadays, if I have to choose between raising my family and improving my tennis resume, I choose the latter.

Serena Williams’ resume

Williams, who turns 41 next month, has accumulated an unmatched resume over the course of a decades-long career that started when she was 5 years old. At the age of 17, in 1999, she won her first Grand Slam singles match. Together with her sister Venus, she has also won 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles matches. Williams won the gold medal in tennis for singles at the 2012 Olympics, adding to her and Venus’ three doubles gold medals. She is currently ranked as the best singles player in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association.

Williams didn’t give a specific end date for her tennis career, but she hinted in an Instagram post that the US Open, which begins in Queens, New York, later this month, might be her final match. She wrote, “The countdown has started. “I’m going to enjoy these upcoming weeks.”

According to her article in Vogue, she has been gradually shifting her allegiance to Serena Ventures. “Every morning, I’m so excited to walk downstairs to my office and jump onto Zooms and start reviewing decks of companies we’re considering investing in,” she wrote.

Since making her first investments nearly ten years ago, Williams claims she has fallen in love with early-stage pre-seed and seed funding. Along with Impossible Foods, Tonal, and French NFT company Sorare, she was one of the first investors in online education subscription platform MasterClass, one of the 16 unicorns her firm has backed.

Williams’ interests

The majority of the businesses Williams has backed share traits with the career she’s leaving behind: fitness, health, and sports. The six-person Serena Ventures team has so far secured $111M in outside funding in 2022. To date, the company has made 55 investments. Because “that’s who we are,” she wrote, nearly 80% of the portfolio’s companies were founded by women and people of colour.

She mentioned several female role models, including Billie Jean King, former Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Caryn Seidman-Becker, CEO of Clear Secure, who she credited with telling her that women only receive 2% of venture capital funding.

The need for someone with my appearance to start writing the large checks was something I sort of understood there and then. Like occasionally draws like,” Williams wrote. More people who resemble me need to be in the position where they are giving money back to themselves in order for us to change the fact that men are writing those large checks to one another.

16 of the companies Williams’ fund has already invested in are valued at more than $1B, including MasterClass, Tonal, and Impossible Foods. She also has a stake in the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and the NWSL’s Angel City FC.

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