Tennis great Serena Williams has become the latest celebrity to invest in cryptocurrencies. Since 2014, her company, Serena Ventures, has invested in more than 30 early startups with a total market capitalization of $12 billion. One of her latest investments is backing Bitcoin rewards company, Lolli.
Serena Ventures has backed a $5 million raise for Lolli’s pre-Series A funding round, according to Coindesk. Her husband, Alexis Ohanian, also invested via his firm Seven Seven Six and other influential investors such as Casey Neistat, Phil DeFranco, Cody Ko, Noel Miller, Ian Borthwick, and Gabriel Leydon.
Williams was attracted to invest in Lolli due to the company’s mission to make bitcoin accessible and inclusive to diverse people. “I’m excited to announce my investment in Lolli, a company on a mission to make bitcoin more accessible,” Williams said in a statement. “Earning and owning bitcoin is a step towards financial inclusivity for all people.”
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In 2020, Lolli, led by PathFinder, with participation from Digital Currency Group, raised a $3 million seed round, highlighting how popular it is as an investment opportunity for big players in the industry.
Launched in 2018, Lolli is a reward application that gives users bitcoin when they shop from its partner merchants. The company now boasts over 1,000 merchants and 250,000 users. Lolli co-founder Alex Adelman in an interview with Coindesk said the company currently offers an average of 7% bitcoin-back rewards at retailers such as Kroger, Microsoft, Booking.com, and Ulta.
“We started out with the idea of educating people about bitcoin,” Adelman said in an interview. “So we just attached it to something that everybody does: shop. People think about investing when they think about bitcoin, but there’s probably less than 1% of the world that would consider themselves investors. Everybody would consider themselves a shopper.”
According to Adelman, Lolli users have earned more than $3 million in bitcoin rewards to date, adding that the firm’s financial empowerment and financial inclusions are the reasons Williams and her team support Lolli.
Williams is regarded as one of the most successful athletes in the world. She has won a record 23 Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era. Also, she has achieved 14 Grand Slam doubles titles alongside her sister Venus and won four gold medals at the Olympics.
Until recently, Williams was the highest-paid female athlete in the world. Her worth is estimated to be $36 million. Besides investing in cryptocurrencies, she also has a clothing line and accessories.