- Maria Sharapova is known for her athletic prowess on the tennis court, but she also has a strong business acumen.
- Sharapova launched her own company in 2012 without any outside investment and has invested in several health and wellness companies since.
- The tennis star told Business Insider that a business needs three things to get her investment: strong leadership, a long-term vision, and differentiation.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Maria Sharapova's investing game is as strong as her tennis game.
The former athlete has a series of investments under her belt. In 2012, she launched Sugarpova, her own candy company, with $500,000 of her own money and no outside investment. And in 2014, she invested in Supergoop, the high-end suncare line. She's also one of many sports stars with an investment in the UFC.
Now that the 33-year-old has retired from tennis, she told Business Insider, she's had more time to explore and pursue new investments.
In a March episode of "Shark Tank," she invested $900,000 with Mark Cuban in Bala Bangles, the popular weighted wrist and ankle bands that easily pass as bracelets. Most recently, she invested in Therabody, the wellness brand behind the handheld percussive massage device Theragun beloved by elite athletes and celebrities.
Sharapova said she's always had an eye on the health and wellness space when it comes to investments. But not every company in that industry makes the cut.
She shared with Business Insider the three things a business needs to get an investment from her.
1. Strong leadership
"Throughout my career, both in tennis and business, I've learned the importance of surrounding yourself with thoughtful experts and the best team possible," Sharapova said.
It explains why Sharapova was able to build a multimillion-dollar brand by partnering with major names like Nike and Evian and creating her own candy company, over the course of her 17-year professional career.
At the time of her retirement, she was the third highest-paid female tennis player and eighth highest-paid tennis player overall. Forbes estimated her entire career earnings to be $325 million, including on-court winnings worth $38.8 million and brand partnerships over her 17-year career.
2. A long-term vision
Part of being a strong leader is working toward long-term goals. Sharapova said she likes to work with partners who understand the difference between short-term and long-term success.
"Growth potential is a huge consideration in my investments and I'm most interested in working with forward-thinking leaders," she said.
Experts say a long-term vision is key to building a sustainable business by creating a plan and guidelines that better equip a business to withstand external forces.
Sharapova said that when considering an investment, she tries to focus on companies that bring an entirely different approach to a problem. "Whether it's technology or really fantastic design, I look for brands that are trying to disrupt an entire industry and create a category of their own," she said.
It's what drew her to both Bala Bangles and Therabody. Sharapova said she felt the former had a unique perspective on design and the shortcomings of stale fitness gear, while the latter's cutting-edge technology was unlike anything else she'd seen in the space.
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