Serena Williams could cash in on an upcoming tech IPO

Getty ImagesTennis star Serena Williams serves as a director of SurveyMonkey’s parent company and could see a windfall from its public offering.
  • Tennis star Serena Williams could see a boon from the initial public offering of the parent company of SurveyMonkey.
  • Williams serves as a director of the company and owns 210,000 options and another 35,000 shares.
  • Williams’ options come with a very standard caveat: Each one will cost her $US16.03 to buy – so unless SurveyMonkey really explodes out of the gate after its IPO, her potential profit will likely pale in comparison to her winnings from tennis.
  • Still, depending how things go, the SurveyMonkey IPO could mean a tidy payday for Williams.

Serena Williams has racked up some major cash on the tennis circuit – she’s made over $US84 million in winnings in her career. Now she has a chance to strike it big in a tech IPO.

Williams is among those who could see a windfall from the IPO of SVMK, the parent company of SurveyMonkey. The tennis star serves as a director of the company and holds some 210,000 options and another 35,000 restricted shares in the company.

SVMK filed Wednesday for a public offering that could raise as much as $US100 million. It hasn’t yet said how many shares it will sell or the price at which it will offer them.

How Williams will fare in that stock sale depends on that price.

Her options have a strike price of $US16.03 – which is to say, it’s how much it will cost Williams to turn each one of those 210,000 options into an actual share of the company. If the stock is worth more than that once she’s eligible to start trading those shares, she’ll make a profit; if it’s less, she won’t. So unless SurveyMonkey really comes roaring out of the gate, Williams will probably be disinclined to retire from tennis from this IPO.

She does, however, own those other 35,000 shares outright, regardless of whatever else happens.

Last year, SVMK repurchased nearly 12,000 shares from investors at a price of $US12.21 a share. At that price, Williams’ 35,000 shares would be worth about $US427,000. It’s fair to say, however, that SurveyMonkey’s leadership, including Williams, are likely hoping for a bigger pop, which would make all of her equity worth a lot more.

SVMK gave Williams the options last year when she joined its board. It gave her the restricted shares, which vest over a four-year period, earlier this month. The company expects about 3,499 of those shares to be fully vested at the time of its IPO.

The SVMK public offering could be Williams’ best shot at tech entrerpreneurial superstardom, but it’s not her only chance to make it big. According to Crunchbase, Williams has personal investments in Israeli photo-sharing app Mobli and San Francisco-based e-commerce startup Mayvenn.

Other SurveyMonkey directors include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, whose late husband Dave Goldberg served as CEO of the company. Sandberg plans to donate her 10% stake in the company to charitable causes.

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