Tennis powerhouse Serena Williams’ impact and influence goes far beyond the realm of sports, she is using her platform to uplift and empower women who are charting paths in entrepreneurship. According to CNBC, Williams is amongst a group of investors that has funded a Black-owned healthcare startup.
The company—dubbed HUED—was founded in 2018 by Kimberly Wilson. Through her own experiences with discrimination and inequities that exist within the healthcare system, the entrepreneur discovered there was a need to make culturally competent healthcare accessible for communities of color and was determined to fill that void. HUED was cultivated to align Black and Brown patients with medical professionals who deliver their services through a culturally sensitive lens.
Wilson says HUED is all about driving equity in healthcare forward to eradicate racial health disparities and improve outcomes for people of color. “I started this company because of my core belief in the preciousness of Black lives and the desire to protect it,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I think that the pandemic, while horrific and tragic, really amplified the disparities that exist within health care that can no longer be ignored. Essentially, there are not many companies that focus specifically on health equity and addressing Black and Latinx populations that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and I think our solution was just very attractive to VCs.” HUED—which is on a mission to serve 500,000 Black and Latinx patients by 2025—has raised $1.6 million in funding so far with investments from Williams’ Serena Ventures, Black Founders Matter and other VC firms and angel investors.
Platforms like HUED are needed as research shows Black patients have better health outcomes when they are treated by Black doctors. HUED isn’t the only Black woman-founded healthcare startup Williams has invested in. In 2019, she backed the maternal healthcare company Mahmee. The platform provides expecting parents with a comprehensive dashboard that tracks the health of the mother and child.