Serena Ventures, led by Serena Williams, and the social app Bumble have invested in Alice, a free platform that guides business owners through the growth of their company.
Together, Alice, Bumble and Serena Ventures will provide access to critical growth resources, guidance and small business opportunities for those with an entrepreneurial spirit. In light of this investment, Alice plans to provide a financial grant and mentorship to one small business owner who applies at helloalice.com.
“Alice helps connect business owners to resources important to their individual industry growth. As an investor in the company, we are working to ensure that women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and all underrepresented groups in business are given equal access to funding, networking and services that are vital to business,” said Williams.
Bumble and Serena Ventures join SVB Financial Group, Silicon Valley Bank’s holding company, as lead, as well as Cathie Reid, Jean Case, Phyllis Newhouse, Shatter Fund and Signia Venture Partners in Alice’s latest Series A financing round. Amounts were not disclosed.
As part owners of Alice, Bumble and Williams will help expand Alice’s machine-learning capabilities to provide business resources to their users based on their stage of growth, location and industry.
“Alice could not be a better fit for Bumble as we expand on our mission to create empowering connections in people’s work lives as well as their personal relationships,” said Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder and chief executive officer of Bumble. “At the end of the day, we work to give women the tools they need to make the first move, and investing in Alice’s platform — geared toward uplifting women and other under-represented small business owners — is a great way for us to continue to get more involved in our local communities and ultimately help create change in the broader business community.”
Integral to the raise is a first-of-its kind #MeToo morality clause, which reinforces the commitment of both Alice and its investors to ensure Alice board members and voting stockholders are held accountable for choices that could affect Alice’s workforce and community of more than 100,000 business owners. The clause requires stockholders to use corporate governance mechanisms to vote for removal of any board member in the event of a “#MeToo event, racial discrimination, and/or sexual orientation discrimination incident.”
“Having business leaders like Serena Williams and Whitney Wolfe Herd as part owners in Alice has created a dream team of savvy investors,” said Elizabeth Gore, president and chairwoman of Alice. “We see our partnership as an extension of the work Serena and Bumble have already done to advance women and New Majority owners in business.” She said she looks forward to welcoming “their perspectives and input as we expand our reach into local business communities and bring forward business for all in 2020.”
Alice is a free, multichannel AI-driven platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of over 100,000 companies in all 50 states and internationally, Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. The business is co-headquartered in Houston and San Francisco.