Serena Williams to be advised on business interests by Declan Kelly’s Consello Group

New York-based company has expanded its relationship with the 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion turned serial investor

Tennis champion Serena Williams will be advised on her business interests by Declan Kelly’s Consello Group, the Irishman’s financial advisory and investment company has announced.

The New York-based group said it would act as Ms Williams’s business partner, “assessing all business opportunities and interests in the world of sports, retail and philanthropy” in an expansion of its relationship with the 23-time Grand Slam champion.

Ms Williams, who began investing in early-stage companies during her illustrious sporting career, has stepped up her business activity since “evolving” away from tennis in September 2022.

“This comprehensive partnership will leverage the full set of capabilities of Consello to maximise business and investing opportunities around the globe,” Ms Williams said in a statement released by Consello. “Together we will unlock a differentiated approach to doing business.”

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Ms Williams first became involved with Consello last year, joining American football star Tom Brady as a partner at the group. Gary Neville became the latest sportsperson to take a role at the company last month.

Mr Kelly, who is from Co Tipperary, previously led Teneo before resigning from the global consulting and public relations firm after accusations of drunken misconduct at a party in 2021. He founded Consello soon after and is the company’s chairman and chief executive.

“Serena Williams is one of the most iconic athletes in modern history,” he said. “In addition to her role as a partner in Consello’s Strive sports and entertainment business, we are pleased to now enter into this broader relationship across her other business interests.”

In the Open Era of women’s tennis, Ms Williams’s achievements are unparalleled. Her total career prize money reached $94.8 million (€88 million), more than twice the sum won by the second-ranked player on the list, her sister Venus Williams. Forbes estimated that, as of last June, her total wealth stood at $290 million.

Ms Williams, who established the venture capital (VC) firm Serena Ventures in 2017, told her TikTok followers last month that she had “a lot of exciting things on the horizon” after 14 years of investing.

“I’ve invested – in my personal portfolio – in over 85 companies maybe and I also have about 14 unicorns,” she said, using the term for a privately held start-up with a valuation of at least $1 billion.

Ms Williams, who “leans towards” investments in early-stage companies led by women and people of colour, said that when she first heard that fewer than 2 per cent of VC money goes to women entrepreneurs, she thought this must be a misquote.

“I thought that can’t be real, we’re talking about trillions of dollars. How can less than 2 per cent be going to women, and also why? That doesn’t make sense.”

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