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23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams is taking her competitive zest off the court and into the financial world with her most recent investment in fintech start-up Esusu. Williams’ venture capital firm Serena Ventures will back the first round of funding for the new business. So far, the company has been able to raise more than $14 million.
Esusu’s mission is to help renters boost and improve their credit scores by allowing people to report their rent payments to multiple credit bureaus.
The 39-year-old athlete expressed her excitement for the new partnership during an interview with CNBC on July 16.
“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 said. “Esusu is definitely one of those companies. Esusu is really focused on credit building and creating pathways to financial inclusion not only for working families but for individuals as well.”
In a study conducted by the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, studies found that 26 million Americans are what they call “credit invisible.” The study attributes the cause to people failing to report their credit history to the nation’s top agencies including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in 2015:
“A limited credit history can create real barriers for consumers looking to access the credit that is often so essential to meaningful opportunity—to get an education, start a business, or buy a house.”
Cordray added that “some of the most economically vulnerable” consumers are more likely to be credit invisible.
Abby Wemimo and Samir Goel who founded the New York-based start-up said they hope Esusu can help low-income families establish stronger credit and finances. Both entrepreneurs were inspired to start the company after seeing the way “immigrant families struggle to pay for rent and build credit” after moving to the states, MSNBC noted.
“We exist in 2 million households across all 50 states. We want to grow that to cover 5 million households within the next year,” Wemimo shared with CNBC.
Congrats to Serena and Esusu!